She supposedly did it for real (those method actors). I’m guessing the alligator that was gutted in disgusting close-up was real. Folks, this movie is one hot mess. It’s all over the map, and over-the-top.
Director Lee Daniels was somehow nominated for an Oscar for Precious. He won’t be for this. In fact, the film was booed at Cannes, and rightly so. It’s one of the worst pictures of the year.
The film is adapted from the Pete Dexter novel about two newspaper reporters (David Oyelowo, Matthew McConaughey), investigating what could be a wrongful conviction in 1969. It’s in the swamps of Florida, which means lots of accents, rednecks, and a sweaty McConaughey. Of course, he also has the toothpick dangling from his lip. And yes, you’ll also see him nude again, in a…very compromising position.
All the subplots aren’t helped along by the various close-ups, the way it’s cut together, and about five other things the director and cinematographer (Roberto Schaefer) did.
The cast is game, playing along with this horrible directors film. Kidman is great as the trashy groupie sending letters to various prisoners, and taunting Efron, who clearly has a crush on her. I can’t say the same for McConaughey, who has done this role a number of times. Scott Glenn is okay.
I’m a fan of Macy Gray as a singer (saw her twice in concert, and even gave her a ride downtown after a show). She was okay as the maid. Her friendship with Efron, as well as motherly advice, is interesting. I’m guessing most won’t care for her narration.
There’s a brutal sex scene that has dead animals cut in between. I’ve seen this technique before in movies, and always comment that it reminds me of a student film.
There’s also that shaky-cam that nobody likes.
I’d love to interview the director and ask him why he does many of the bizarre things he does. Did it never occur to him to tell Cusack to take it down a notch? And in his first meeting with Kidman and they talk dirty while sitting across from each other in jail – did every character in that scene need to grab their crotch? There was more crotch grabbing than a Michael Jackson concert.
This movie gets 1 star out of 5.