The Paperboy Review
is a strange noir-infused mystery from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lee
Daniels (Precious). It's essentially a pulpy
movie based upon a pulp novel by writer Pete Dexter (who co-wrote the
with Daniels). Unlike his Oscar nominated effort; The
Paperboy is an entirely surprising turn from director Daniels,
who has crafted a film that is a radical departure for him.
story of The Paperboy takes place during the 1960's
and in South Floria. The
story begins with a meeting where Anita Chester (Macy Gray) is
story of what happened. She tells the story is if it is one about
(Zac Efron). Anita was the maid to his family, and she was like a
mother to him
while he was growing up and becoming a man. As it turns out, he had a
death-row inmate Hillary Van
Wetter (John Cusack) is suggested innocent of a terrible murder by the
death-row obsessed Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), who seems to find
prison as the most attractive people to write to and fall in love with.
"hot mess" as some might say, but she's got a lively and beautiful
is something that Jack see's in her when they first meet. Yet she
claims to be
in love with death-row inmate Wetter. This creates a problem for the
in love Jack, who falls for Charlotte as quickly as butter melts.
(Matthew McConaughey) and Yardley (David Oyelowo) had been brought in
into the material Charlotte found to be indicative of Wetter's
innocence in the
murder. Jack is the "Paperboy" who helped his brother Jansen, the
with delivering the papers. He becomes involved in trying to figure out
story. He almost instantly becomes attracted to the case out of his
Charlotte. Is Wetter guilty or innocent? What will be the result for
chances with the beautiful Charlotte? These are just some elements of
of the paperboy.
Daniels has a distinctive voice
as a filmmaker. I say this after only having seen two films by Daniels.
Precious was a brilliant film with some of the best performances I have
a long time. It was a great work of art. The
Paperboy is less distinctive in the sense that it is not really
meant to be
a dramatic work of fine art. The Paperboy
is a beautifully filmed and compellingly acted, and well told pulp noir
a different type of cinematic experience
and endeavor from what Daniel's has done before. Yet everything about
seems just as ambitious and impressive as Daniel's prior work. Lee's
got an impressive talent for bringing forth great performances. This is
aspect of his work.
excels largely because of how well everyone does in their respective
per usual, an undeniably fascinating and strong performance is given by
Kidman. What is more surprising, perhaps, is how worthwhile the
by Zac Efron. He also sinks further into his role than one might expect
the former High School Musical star.
film isn't a great work of art.
It's too pulpy and over-the-top in parts to be considered as a
film. Yet it is an entertaining thriller that works wonders with an
cast brought together to make this film as stellar as possible. It
the skill of a still relatively new to the game and impressive
from the way certain shots were framed to the cinematography by Roberto
Schaefer impresses. This is a well-made and effective thriller, and
ultimately the point. This is a well-told story that will have your
a difficult film to rate on the picture-quality scale. The film is
the proper theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. It also
preserves a cinematography
style of interest because of how different it makes the film look
most modern productions. It's an appropriate look for the film, though.
makes the film look a bit grungy and pulpy and like it's an old-school
As such, it's a hyper stylized presentation that looks clear and sharp
parts and a tad softer on the whole and with colors that don't pop
much. This is exactly how the film is supposed to look though. It's a
of the film's design as intended by the director and cinematographer.
This is a
worthwhile 1080p transfer.
Dolby TrueHD audio is a bit quieter and less refined than I would have
expected, but it does occasionally have some interesting sound effects
(especially during scenes that take place around swamps). The music has
in clarity and presentation from the lossless mix. This isn't a
presentation but it sounds nice, clean, and clear. It works well with
a few notable extras on this release. There is a brief featurette
that explores the making of the film. There is also a director
interview and several cast and crew interviews
the film and the characters. Lastly, there is some loosely edited
offers an interesting behind the scenes
look at the making of the film.
high-art. It's not an altogether great film. Yet it's an entertaining
that is suspenseful and intriguing and it is highlighted by several
performances (including yet another great performance by Nicole Kidman
surprising turn from rising star Zac Efron). This
may not be on the same level as Lee
Daniel's Precious but it's
a good effort from the director and it continues to display a level of
promise of great things to come from an immensely talented artist.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.