Take a Ride with the Paperboy
The Book: The sun is rising over Moat County, Florida, when Sheriff Thurmond Call is found dead on the highway, gutted like an alligator. A local redneck is swiftly arrested, tried and sentenced to death. Ward James - hotshot investigative reporter - returns to his rural hometown, intrigued by the proposition from a death row femme fatale who promises him the story of the decade. She's armed with explosive evidence, aiming to free her convicted 'fiancé'. Together, they barrel down Florida's back roads and through its seamy underbelly in search of The Story, racing flat out into a head-on collision that will make headline news.
The Film - by our very own film critic Richard B:
Twenty years ago or so Pete Dexter was hot property, as were violent almost B-Movie cinematic outings. I refer to The Kill-Off, The Grifters, and more particularly The Hot Spot and Dexter’s own Paris Trout. The last two were directed or starred Dennis Hopper who at the time was still buzzing on the Amyl nitrate Frank breathes in Blue Velvet.
And it’s Dennis Hopper who comes to mind watching The Paperboy; there’s a semi hallucinatory feeling to it, drugs and alcohol permeate it, but not as much as does Sex. Nicole Kidman in the blondest of wigs, shortest of skirts, and faked fellatio lips, the shackled con John Cusack behaving as if in a strip bar, or the graphic S&M Gay sex McConaughey’s character gets involved in- sex is everywhere, love nowhere- at least not requited love.
Pumping 60’s Soul, William Eggleston colours, powerhouse acting, and most importantly a true Southern Gothic story to tether it, to stop it sliding sweatily into the Everglades make this an absolute delight.
The movie comes from Pete Dexter’s The Paperboy just reissued by Atlantic, and this excellent author is well served by an imaginative intelligent rendition.
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