directed by Lee Daniels
Lee Daniels directs the ever-loving shit out of the pulpy, trashy, sweaty, and astounding modern cult classic The Paperboy. It’s a scorcher of a tale, a tabloid-esque twister of deception, murder, scandal and such torrid sexuality that would make your dear old grandma blush, but it’s also an opportunity for a group of great actors to really sink their teeth into roles in ways you don’t often encounter. Matthew McConaughey has been having a helluva couple years, from the madcap darkness of Bernie to the pitch black darkness of Killer Joe, the smut glam sheen of Magic Mike to the murky mystery of Mud, and The Paperboy finds him in top form as Ward Jansen, an aloof journalist brought back home to Florida to investigate the murder case of Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack). Aiding brothers Ward and Jack (Zac Efron) in their investigation is Van Wetter’s fiancée Charlotte Bliss, played to the heights of dysfunctional genius by Nicole Kidman. Anyone who scoffed at John Cusack’s recent list of duds need to see him come back with a vengeance as one of the most unhinged characters in recent years. And hats off to Zac Efron, who so effortlessly grimes up his squeaky clean image as Jack Jansen that I was mesmerized. The Paperboy is the kind of movie that aims to make the sweat and steam palpable, and Lee Daniels succeeds with flying colors. Get yourself a cold mint julep and a sturdy hand fan before setting down with this trash gem. It’ll get your heart going.