The competitive world of the newspaper business in New York City, is the subject of Ron Howard’s 1994 film, The Paper. Centered on a story about two young black kids wrongly accused of the murder of two white wealthy businessmen. A film that deftly weaves several well-developed stories and characters, and manages to strike a great balance between humor and drama, as its key players fight for family, respect and journalistic integrity.
David and Stephan Koepp’s screenplay does a fantastic job of developing several supporting characters, and anchors them perfectly to Keaton’s central role as Henry. An editor at the New York Sun newspaper trying to balance work, with life at home with his pregnant wife, Martha (Marisa Tomei). It’s a film that could easily derail, when you consider what and who it covers with its all-star cast in a little under two hours. But Ron Howard keeps this piece moving, and sets the perfect tone and pace for this project so that each part of its layered narrative gets enough screen time and makes sense.
As Robert Duvall’s character, Bernie, so succinctly puts it in the film. A person has to evenly split their time between, house, career, and family, and The Paper works best as cautionary tale about finding that balance in one’s life. Placing characters around Henry that have failed to find that balance and who put their careers ahead of loved ones. During an especially hectic day at the newspaper, Henry must acknowledge the pitfalls of neglecting family from these examples around him. While also fight to get the correct story about the two falsely accused kids out to general public.
Ron Howard pulls all this together perfectly, and the performances from the cast, especially Michael Keaton, are superb. The script is laced with great dialogue, and the movie is very entertaining. The nearly two-hour running time flies by, but still manages to develop a meaningful dramatic tone, and develop characters the audience can care about.
If you’re a fan of any of the a-list cast, then The Paper is a must see. It moves along at a quick pace, so will need your full attention. The movie is rated R due to language, and some brief moments of violence.
The production design is excellent, and each set, especially the New York Sun offices, are very detailed and have a great ‘lived in’ quality about them. This kind of film can be enjoyed equally on any device you care to watch it on.
Randy Quaid plays a no-nonsense columnist called Michael, and after being ignored several times by people shouting and complaining in Henry’s office, he grabs a large pile of old newspapers and shoots them to get their attention.