The Paperboy

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(2012) ★★★

Film4: PREMIERE Monday 20 April, 11.05pm
Film4: Sunday 26 April, 11.10pm

The killing of a despised Florida sheriff brings reporter Matthew McConaughey back to his Moat County hometown in the summer of 1969. Prissy colleague David Oyelowo is with him. “Seems mighty sure of himself for a colored,” observes McConaughey’s father Scott Glenn, editor of the local paper. The past may be a foreign country but, as Lee Daniels’ florid thriller shows, nothing much changes in America when it comes to matters of race. The story is narrated in sardonic fashion by the family’s ‘help’, black maid Macy Gray. The man on Death Row is John Cusack, coming on creepier than Billy Bob Thornton. Even so, he’s attracted the interest of Nicole Kidman, brassier than a mariachi band. McConaughey’s kid brother Zac Efron is instantly smitten in a psycho-sexual jamboree that gets a bit grindhouse grisly amid the purple pulp prose. The only thing that’s underwrought is the music. McConaughey, too, is always more impressive when he dials down his twitchy acting workshop chops. He’s up to his old tricks in the similarly sleazy thriller Killer Joe, Film4 on Wednesday, 11.10pm. Whatever their faults, they aren’t boring.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 107min