Paperboy, The (Blu-ray Review)11 Jan, 2013 By: Ashley Ratcliff
Box Office $0.69 million
$28.99 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray, $34.98 BD/DVD combo
Rated ‘R’ for strong sexual content, violence and language.
Stars Matthew McConaughey, David Oyelowo, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack.
Enterprising reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) and his colleague, Yardley (David Oyelowo), return to his Florida hometown set on proving the innocence of Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), who was convicted of killing a crooked sheriff. The writers are willing to get in the trenches and uncover any clues that will help free the death row inmate, hoping their article will bring them recognition.
Joining the journalists on their quest is Ward’s younger brother, Jack (Zac Efron), who delivers papers for their father’s local publication, and oversexed oddball Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), who has a predilection for men behind bars. The seductress hopes her pen pal Hillary will be freed so they can marry. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s magnetic presence makes her irresistible to Jack and Yardley.
The Paperboy, based on Pete Dexter’s novel set in the racially charged 1960s South, is rife with extremely uncomfortable moments. Ward’s dark, sexually adventurous side comes back to bite him. The “N” word is flung at Yardley and housekeeper Anita (Macy Gray) on numerous occasions. Charlotte and Hillary engage in remarkably appalling “telepathic” jailhouse sex in the presence of Jack and the reporters.
Hillary is a violent, menacing man — at times he’s downright scary. It becomes too much when we’re confronted with what we knew all along: It would be a terrible mistake it was to release him from prison.
Cusack is incredible, and Efron shows true acting prowess, portraying the lovelorn kid who evolves throughout the film. But it’s Kidman who emerges the most memorable in her risky role.
The filmmakers do a fine job of transporting viewers to the late 1960s, as each frame looks like an aged photograph from a scrapbook. Special features include a making-of featurette, director interview, behind-the-scenes footage and cast and crew interviews.