Set in the backwaters of Southern Florida in the 1960s, The Paperboy tells the story of reporter Ward Jansen and his partner Yardley who chase a career making criminal investigation. With the help of Ward's younger brother Jack and a sultry sexually charged Charlotte, the pair try to prove that a violent inmate Hillary was framed for the murder of the corrupt local sheriff. Lee Daniels' The Paperboy is a pulpy crime drama which fails far more than it succeeds on telling its noirish story. Early on the film really struggles with focus, seemingly confused as to who the main characters of the film are. It seems to think that the crime story is the central component, and while it is, this actual aspect of the film is mundane and uninteresting. The biggest problem with the Paperboy is while its characters are amusing, particular Nicole Kidman's Charlotte character who is a lot of fun, the film struggles to get the audience emotionally attached to the characters for a large majority of the film, ultimately being far more interested in shock value than its characters. Ultimately Zac Efron's character Jack is the main protagonist and while the film does have a few moments where the viewer gets to relate to this character, overall it feels far colder than it should. The aesthetic of The Paperboy is probably its most impressive trait. Lee Daniels uses a grainy visual style and cinematography choices that really fit the mood and time period of the film, which is really the only aspect of the film which truly transports the viewer into the world. I absolutely despised Lee Daniels last film Precious, and I must admit that I was actually impressed with his direction. There is a sexually charged sequence between Hillary and Charlotte which Daniels' directs perfectly, using juxtaposition of image to portray this eery sense of unease. The Paperboy is incredibly uneven, being part sex comedy, part detective story, party heavy-handed racial drama and in deciding to be all three, the film pretty much fails.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.