Monday, July 28, 2008

The Postman

The Postman; Science-fiction drama, USA, 1997; D: Kevin Costner, S: Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Olivia Williams, Larenz Tate, James Russo

The year is 2013. The US is devastated while some wondering man and his mule Bill get food in villages by performing Shakespeare's plays. Then the evil tyrant Bethlehem shows up with his army and drafts a few people, including him, while his mule gets cooked. The man manages to escape by jumping into the river, finding a bag full of letters. From there on, he calls himself the Postman and goes to a small town telling everyone that the government of the US is established again. There everyone gains new hope while some Abby sleeps with him in order to get a baby since his husband is sterile. The Postman starts delivering mail and runs away from Bethlehem with Abby. When he returns, he is surprised by the development of the postal service and kills Bethlehem. 30 years later the Postman dies but his daughter enjoys in peace and raises a monument for him.

Bitter and rather pessimistic version of post apocalyptic future will probably detract some, even though "The Postman" is an acceptable and solid adaptation of the award winning novel with the same title, in the end becoming much more optimistic than "Mad Max's" trilogy, though distributors Warner Bros. was rather shocked due to it's poor results at the box office. At 3 hours, the movie is definitely overlong, the postmen are naively exalted into superheroes while Bethlehem is a stereotype bad guy who annoys a lot of the time with his nonsense ("Peace is for the weak!") yet one shouldn't look for mistakes with a microscope because there are quite a few virtues here. Even though it's watered down, the story is actually clever while Kevin Costner once again shows how he knows how to direct some scenes, especially in the ironic moments, like when the Postman claims that the new president of the USA is Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr's real name), his "fencing" with the mule that has a sword in it's mouth or when the evil army rather likes to watch the musical "The Sound of Music" than sci-fi "Universal Soldier". Olivia Williams is wonderfully sustained as Abby, but after his masterwork "Dances with Wolves" people simply expected more from Costner.


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