Since 2011, Matthew Mcconaughey has starred in a legendary string of films: The Lincoln Lawyer, Bernie, Killer Joe, Magic Mike and The Paperboy. All are noteworthy films, I believe all are available at Redbox and I recommend seeing them all. But this post isn’t about Mcconaughey, I just wanted to point that out.
The focus of this post will be on The Paperboy. It’s a thriller written and directed by Lee Daniels (the same guy who brought us Precious, produced Monster’s Ball and is currently directing The Butler starring Forrest Whitaker, Terrence Howard, Oprah Winfrey etc). I like to describe Daniels’ filmmaking as eccentric, obscene and violent and The Paperboy is no exception.
It has a star studded ensemble cast which includes Mcconaughey, John Cusack, Nicole Kidman, Zac Effron, David Owelowo and Macy Gray. The story is set in the old South. It revolves around an inmate on death row (Cusack), a woman who falls in love with him through writing letters back and forth (Kidman), two reporters investigating what they believe to be a wrongful conviction of the death row inmate (Mcconaughey and Owelowo) and the reporter’s kid brother who lost his college swimming scholarship and is back home because he has no where else to go (Effron). Macy Gray is the family’s maid and narrates the film.
In a span of 101 minutes, this film tackles uncomfortable issues like race relations, the N word, homosexuality, addiction, unconventional sexual relations, the prison system, psychopaths, parent abandonment, misogyny etc.
No doubt, after viewing this film, you will probably think, “that was strange,” but it is a compelling story, it adresses issues that often go unmentioned in standard Hollywood films, and Kidman’s performance alone is worth any admission price (but the entire cast did a wonderful job, I really liked Effron in this film). I enjoyed this movie and think it’s Daniel’s best work yet.