Film review: The Paperboy (15)
High-school hunk delivers in steamy thriller
Friday 15 March 2013
Zac Efron comes of age in this lurid and sweat-drenched crime drama set in late-Sixties Florida, and adapted from Peter Dexter's novel with no small amount of style and swagger by Lee Daniels, the director of Precious.
Efron plays Jack Jansen, a college dropout who takes on a position at the local paper, and joins his older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) on an investigation into the case of Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), a redneck on Death Row for murder. The brothers are investigating at the behest of Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), who began as Van Wetter's penpal and soon after became his fiancè.
A character in the tradition of Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and a siren with whom Jack is immediately smitten, Bless is a hyper-sexed, damaged bottle blonde who knows how to flaunt what she's got and how to get what she wants. The film's central mystery is what Bless wants with Van Wetter, a reptilian character who learned his interpersonal skills from the alligators among which he lived in the Florida swamps.
Less interested in plot mechanics than character and mood, The Paperboy is a high- class piece of trash cinema that simmers with dangerous desires, racial tension and the threat of violence, before boiling over into an all-out pulp melodrama full of S&M sex, drugs and jellyfish stings. Everyone in it plays their part well, but Kidman delivers the kind of unexpected, jaw- dropping, movie-star performance that you can't take your eyes off, even when you'd like to.
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 5 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
The Gamechangers trailer: Daniel Radcliffe stars in GTA movie
Star Wars: New action dolls launched on Force Friday ahead of The Force Awakens release
Ricki And The Flash, film review: Meryl Streep's rock'n'roll creation steals the show
Joan Aiken: Today's Google Doodle celebrates life of British fantasy novelist
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Refugees welcome: More than 250,000 sign Independent petition calling for Britain to 'take its fair share'