For something that proclaims on its posters to be ‘pulpy’, The Paperboy is more of a mess than the greasy entertainment it aspires toward. It lingers and jars in tone, adding up to something that seems to be trying too hard to appear trashy.
In the late 60s, Ward Jensen (Martin McDonaghey) and his younger brother Jack (Zac Efron) are reporters trying to get to the bottom of a murder which has landed the accused on death row. They’re helped by a British black reporter (David Oyelowo) and a seductive blonde (Nicole Kidman) who has never met the prisoner but claims to have fallen in love with him and determined to get him released. There are lots of unconvincing threads which don’t really tie together to make a film, whilst being riddled with a horrifically saccharine narration. Zac Effron takes his shirt off a lot, Kidman plays trailer trash and McDonaghy and Acheman are both riddled by deep seated secrets. Despite the rough sex, murder, rape and crocodile skinning, it’s ultimately tedious with very little pleasure to feel guilty about.
Review by David Rank
The Paperboy is released on 15th March in the UK. Certificate 15 (UK). Running time 107 mins.
Comments and feedback are always welcome or just give the film a rating by using the stars at the top.