Directed by: Lee Daniels
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Zac Efron
In the 1960’s two newspaper detectives travel to a Florida backwater to investigate the allegedly false murder charge brought against John Cusack’s (at his creepy sleazy best) Hillary Van Wetter. In the process one of the journalists reconnects with his younger brother, who in turn falls for a trashy Nicole Kidman. Kidman’s character is obsessed with the incarcerated Van Wetter and she supplies ways of gaining the co-operation of the ‘Felon’ (one of these involves the most gross mutual masturbation scene in film history). As the investigation gets under way, secrets are revealed about the murder and the investigators themselves, as things build towards a dramatic conclusion.
This is a film that has a lot of complex, subtle elements and nuances. In some ways it reminded of 1970’s alternative films and documentaries. It’s also an enlightening, funny, outrageous and disturbing character study mixed with a healthy dose of sultry southern Gothic. Nicole Kidman’s transformation into tart-with-a-heart-of gold Charlotte Bless is commendable and Zac Efron gave a solid yet understated performance (note to female viewers – he seems to be continually in his underwear throughout the film). Kudos to all the cast including Matthew McConaughey, as damaged Ward Jansen, and Macy Gray (yes the helium voiced singer). My only problem with this film was that it was hard to follow the drawling southern accents. An overriding thumbs up!