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The Paperboy

Director Lee Daniels (Precious) loves to get gritty with his stories — including how he films them. Here, he gives The Paperboy a rawness using close camera work; sharp, articulate scene breaks; and both filters and lighting that make you feel the wet, Floridian heat. Zac Efron looks very grown-up showing off a powerful swimmer’s build as Jack, a young man who works for his father’s small-town newspaper. Jack’s closeted older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) returns home to research the story of an alleged murderer (John Cusack), and brings along a haughty writer and a death-row groupie (Nicole Kidman) who is sexually obsessed with the convict. Macy Gray gives a beautifully natural performance as the family maid, and Cusack is disturbingly good at playing bad, but the entire cast is excellent. WORD OF MOUTH: The film is based on a true story that’s dark and dirty, but Daniels’ storytelling is unflinching — even in the much-buzzed-about scene in which Kidman pees on Efron. rating: 8 of 10.

By Jonathan Roche

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