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Review: The Paperboy

By River Reporter Mar 7, 2013

The Paperboy is about a couple of reporters trying to investigate whether a man on death row is in fact a murderer.

James Garwood

The reporters, Zac Efron and Mathew McConaughy are assisted by Charlotte, played by Nicole Kidman, who has fallen in love with the man accused (John Cusack).

Ultimate slow-burner

Despite being called The Paperboy, the film – without a doubt – belongs to the women. Nicole Kidman is superb as filthy, flirty and fiery Charlotte Bless.

It is the ultimate slow burner and at times it is difficult to stay engaged with the plot as it plods along. Big events take place and yet seem unimportant due to the lack of pace and excitement.


Many events trickle past your eyes before you realise what is happening and this, coupled with the flashback style of the film, means that the viewer must watch every second and take everything on board. The camera work is intrusive, it is over-the-shoulder close at times and the harsh fade-outs create a constant sense of discomfort from scene to scene.

Unfortunately for Efron the rest of the cast outshines him. John Cusack will send shivers down your spine as he plays the uneasy to watch Hillary Van Wetter while McConaughey plays the fascinating character, Ward, incredibly well. Those two, teamed with the women of the film, leave Efron in the dark.

Many themes cross paths

Directed by Lee Daniels, who also directed the powerful Precious, The Paperboy is slow, yet deeply intense. So many themes cross paths, bubble up and overflow during the 101 minute run that you find yourself caught up in the intensity of one emotion before being suddenly shocked by the horror of another.

Overall, The Paperboy needs to be watched for the incredible performance by Nicole Kidman but it’s something of a shame that the rest of cast can’t reach the bar that she sets.

Rating: 5/10

The Paperboy is released in cinemas March 15 

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