The Paperboy – 2/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

the paperboyThe Paperboy – 2/5 – This is a review for a film that came out a year ago.  This is a film that is loosely based on true events.  In dealing with true events, regardless of the dramatizing of the story or characters, a still must entertain.  Sadly, this film has some glaring flaws that keep it from being completely entertained.  The Paperboy, with some good characters, falls flat in the end.

Premise: In a rural Florida town, a reporter returns to his hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate.  What ensures is a mystery of both him and the case, which puts into motion events that neither him and his brother can turn back from.

In the main role of Jack Jansen, we have Zac Efron.   In being a lead, he does a decent job in providing a ‘coming of age’ kind of character.  He shows a boy that is lost within his own life, trying to find some reason to live.  This all changes when he gets involved with his brother’s investigation.  The investigation unravels the ‘boy’ within him, helping provide a ‘kick’ to the realities of life, causing layers to his personality.  He helps exudes this change, even as the film never gives it total focus, which is caused by the supporting characters (will get to that later).  Even for the quality in the role, Efron doesn’t provide true commandment of the lead role.  This causes a lack of attachment for the audience, and no dramatic development to adhere to in the film.  In the ‘pseudo’ supporting roles (but feel more leading roles), you have Matthew McConaughey as the brother Ward Jansen, Nicole Kidman as Charlotte Bless, John Cusack as Hilary Van Wetter and David Oyelowo as Yardley Acheman.  With this group, you get distinct and deep individuals; who provide a riveting look to the true events.  Each of these characters all have internal motives, which causes a very strong ‘individualistic’ tone, which also causes a lot of focus shifting between each of the four (including the main lead).  With all of these characters having individual spotlights, it drowns out the story development, causing this ‘tug a war’ scenario within the film.  When this happens, there is no core focus on a common thread, causing the film to get lost on single themes and structure.  You basically have too many alpha archetypes for supporting roles.  Beyond these glaring issues, you still can be entertained by the quality provided by the actors.

Watching this film, you will get the notion that the director has no clue in how to corral all the actors under a single ‘themed’ umbrella.  With the ideals of characterization, true events and serious dramatic elements played through out, you would think the direction would have some kind of structure.  From the beginning, you’re introduced to all the players in this film through the maid’s narration.  Even with the a unique ploy of using ‘narration’ of a third party, a good 20 minutes of the first half, there is never any true introduction or molding of the actual events to a ‘plot premise’ or ‘focal theme’.  With leaving out key essential functions of film introduction, the first half is relied heavily upon the actors to carry their scenes; making every scene stand out from each other, with no real flow between them.  The stories that get introduced are:

The mistrial of Hilary Van Wetter

The family situation of the Jansen’s

The love triangle between Jack Jansen, Charlotte Bless and Hilary Van Wetter

The film juggles between these three plots lines for a good 2/3rds.  You never get a sense of the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of any situation, causing any kind of emotion between the characters getting lost in translation.   Once the film hits the third act, the story starts to pull on the dark motives of each of the characters, causing a common thread to bring everyone together.  With a dark tone, the direction takes the focus back to the true main lead (Jack Jansen), giving some closure to an imprecise film.

The visuals of the film give an ‘artistic’ appeal.  With a grainy technique used, it gives you an honest look at the town, people and situations that are being portrayed on screen.   The score is non-existent.

Overall, The Paperboy is a mix bag of many things.  There are some strong characters, but no focus in the story development.  With a lack of focus, there is no well-built overall ‘tone’ that can keep the audience entertained.  If you’re a fan of true event films, check it out.  If you’re not, just pass on this film.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *