A lurid, sweaty, racially charged swamp melodrama dressed up as a period piece with a dash of noir.
Lee Daniels has unleashed another movie on the world and its name is The Paperboy. Boy, does the film try really hard to be an outrageous meditation on race & sexuality in the Sixties. Boy, does it ever fail on almost all accounts. Daniels based the film on the 1995 Pete Dexter (“Paris Trout”) novel of the same name. He enlists Dexter to co-write the script so we can’t just blame the filmmaker for ruining the story. When the book came out in 1995 it received fairly solid notices, like this one from the bastion of literature Entertainment Weekly:
A wise and fascinating tale well told.
From the beginning the movie unleashes a punishing and grueling assault on the viewer. Many times throughout the movie you will be wiping your brow for sweat that just has to be there since every character in nearly every scene is dripping with sweat. The swamps of Florida are hot and sweaty. Very, very hot. Very, very sweaty. Those swamps hold secrets just beneath the surface, secrets like who really killed crooked Sheriff Call of Moat County. The man convicted and sent to jail was Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack, 2012, Pushing Tin) whose cousin was killed by the sheriff. Van Wetter professes his innocence to a prison pen pal Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, Days of Thunder), a sultry, trashy broad whose hobby is writing fellas in jail whom she’d like to marry when they get out. She finds true love with Hillary and enlists a couple of writers from the Miami Times to help her clear Hillary’s good name.
Read the rest of the review at MILE HIGH CINEMA