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The Paper

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Paper

Starring: Michael Keaton, Robert Duvall
Director: Ron Howard
Rated: R
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: March 1994
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Richard Price, Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, Randy Quaid, Jason Robards, Jason Alexander, Spalding Gray, Catherine O'Hara

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1.  Dragan Antulov review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
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Review by Dragan Antulov
3 stars out of 4

In today's world of journalism, dominated by television, Internet and "news as entertainment" business philosophy, printed newspapers are considered to be the thing of the past. Same thing happened to the perception of journalists as fearless crusaders for truth and justice in this cynical age. As a result, once thriving subgenre of journalism movies almost disappeared from Hollywood. THE PAPER, 1994 drama by Ron Howard, represents one of those precious films that deal with realities of life of modern newspaper reporters.

The screenplay of THE PAPER, written by brother David and Stephen Koepp, follows 24 hours in lives of reporters and editors in "New York Sun" tabloid newspaper. The nominal protagonist of the film is Henry Hackett (played by Michael Keaton), workaholic editor who loves his job. But long hours, low pay and uncertain future of the tabloid lead him to think about new career. His pregnant wife Martha (played by Marisa Tomei) urges him to think about better-paid but more boring job in respectable "New York Sentinel" newspaper. In the meantime, rapidly developing story about two black teenagers being arrested for racially motivated murders would represent another opportunity for Hackett to use his skills of investigative reporter. Results of his investigation, on the other hand, would later lead to dramatic confrontations with bullish managing editor Alicia Clark (played by Glenn Close).

Judging by some of American newspaper movie reviews, Koepp brothers in their screenplay managed to paint rather convincing picture of the life in modern editorial offices. According to medical statistics in many countries, news reporters and editors have shorter average lifespan than those belonging to other professions and THE PAPER explains the causes of this phenomenon - deadline, editorial pressures and consequent stress that leads to chain-smoking and alcoholism, and, naturally, all that has devastating effects on reporters' personal lives. Ron Howard is faithful to this gritty picture laced with black humour, but he nevertheless adds some Hollywood touch with few moralising scenes and melodramatic finale that went over the top with some of the cliches (including notorious "Stop the presses!" line). However, THE PAPER compensates these flaws with truly great ensemble cast that relies more on character actors like Keaton, Tomei, Close, Robert Duvall and Randy Quaid Tomei than standard Hollywood stars. Because of them, realistic atmosphere of modern-day editorial offices isn't lost. THE PAPER, therefore, is a film that should be recommended as skillfully done example of almost forgotten dramatic subgenre.

Copyright 2000 Dragan Antulov

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