Friday, August 23, 2013

THE PAPERBOY

Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey,
Zac Efron, Macy Gray, John Cusack


As if the devastation from the most recent storm wasn't bleak enough, I picked a really lurid tale to entertain myself.  But it was a random pick from my folder of films to watch so be it.   Set in the summer of 1969 in the really warm state of Florida,  the story about a murder investigation is peppered with despicable characters. Based on a 1995 novel by American author Pete Dexter, it is directed by Lee Daniels ("Precious") whose most recent film "The Butler" is currently receiving rave reviews by critics. 

"The Paperboy" is composed of renowned actors cast in roles, way beneath their normal glamorous standards.  I was surprised that Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack and Zac Efron were willing to play characters who didn't have any redeeming qualities.  Most of the time they looked dirty and scruffy from sweating too much, behaved really badly and were for want of a better word disgusting personas.  

The setting itself was bleak with several scenes in a filthy swamp in Southern Florida, complete with thick mud and dead alligators hanging from tree trunks.  It gave me the creeps to say the least.  I felt like taking a shower to cleanse myself from the filth seeping from the environment as well as from the characters themselves.

The plot itself is scattered with story lines and side plots all muddled together in a murky mess. It dealt with mature subjects like racism, murder, sex and violence in the era of the Civil Rights Movement.  The flowery dialogue delivered in the Southern accent used the dreaded N word quite abundantly.  

In the beginning, it showed some promise as the story is told through a narrative and a flashback to events which were quite vital to the story. Then towards the middle part, things got really messy with some explicitly graphic scenes which I thought were too raunchy but were included to stir up some controversy.  The last minutes wrapped up quickly but weren't really conclusive. 

Overall, I'd say there is nothing compelling in this film. In fact, it was trashy and sometimes quite sickening and revolting to watch.  The only plus factor would be the solid performance of the cast who deserve some credit for portraying such ill fated characters.

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