THE POSTMAN

the postman

THE POSTMAN (1997)

IMDb rating: 5.7 / 10

Tagline:  The year is 2013. One man walked in off the horizon and hope came with him.

 

There are not many big-budget Hollywood films with a title less inspiring than ‘The Postman’:

“Hey darling! Cancel that dinner reservation! Let’s go to the cinema tonight instead! I love the sound of this glacial 3 hour drama about a guy who delivers mail…!”

But then again there are not many big-budget Hollywood films worse than The Postman. It is a disastrous, catastrophic, post-apocalypse movie. A hilariously pompous testament to hubris and ego, a film that thinks it might just change the world.

The only change it engenders is the channel.

Great performances in Field of Dreams, JFK, The Untouchables, No Way Out and Dances With Wolves catapulted Kevin Costner to superstardom. It was going to take something truly special to derail one of Hollywood’s most dazzling careers.

Fortunately for Bride of Crapula, Kevin Costner knows how to deliver.

The Postman

You’ve got…male

Into the dystopian future world…of 2013…emerges a stranger, a travelling Shakespearean actor, offering soliloquies in exchange for sustenance. As a performer, this visitor is so bad he’s lucky the more culturally inclined villagers don’t beat him to death out of kindness. It’s impossible to tell whether Costner is actually trying to be or not to be this terrible as a Bard botherer, because he’s so awful, he makes Keanu Reeves look like John Gielgud.

After meeting, then escaping the evil clutches of the resident post-apocalyptic despot, our hero accidentally uncovers a long-abandoned US Mail van, along with sacks of undelivered post from a time before Kevin Costner’s films had to rely on such horribly mangled plot devices.

With the audience clawing at their bloodied scalps in disbelief and tedium, Costner resolves to wander the barren landscape, actually delivering said mail, along with fanciful tall tales from his travels. Thus in the process, bringing hope to the hopeless, faith to the faithless and… er… post to the post-less.

Costner’s character basically evolves from charlatan to champion… and it only takes 177 short minutes of eye-gougingly dreadful filmmaking to achieve it. It’s a movie that doesn’t realise that delivering a letter is nowhere near as exciting as it thinks it is.

It’s pretentious and self-serving. It’s corny and contrived. And it’s just…

…so…

…damn…

…long…

There is no post haste to be seen here.

The Postman

Please, please wait a minute Mr. Postman

Instead, there’s a premise that seems to begin without any real context or motivation, and by the end, is so convoluted, the only sign the film is finally over is that your eye stops twitching.

So all you’re really left with is the middle.

And it’s a big middle. A giant middle. A bloated, overblown middle that really needs to hit the gym before it keels over in a KFC car park clutching it’s left arm and wheezing for an ambulance with well maintained shock absorbers.

It’s a middle that includes a coma-inducing subplot in which Costner and Olivia Williams spend an entire winter snowed in at a remote mountain cabin… where absolutely nothing happens… …seemingly in real time.

It’s a middle that reveals a true tragedy- that Line Dancing seems to have survived the apocalypse.

It’s a middle that includes a risibly cloying scene where the eponymous hero races on horseback to collect a letter from a bright-eyed moppet. The slo-mo and swelling music would imply that it’s a moment loaded with significance…

..nope. He just hands over a piece of mail. It’s an all-enveloping Parcel Farce.

It’s also a middle that includes Tom Petty in a cameo role as… Tom Petty. Yes, there’s a scene where The Postman arrives at a small town only to find that he recognises the Mayor from his vinyl collection. The dialogue goes like this:

Postman: I know you. You’re famous.

Bridge City Mayor: I was once… sorta.

How many other AOR soft rockers made it through the apocalypse is a question never answered. Maybe Peter Cetera is a blacksmith in the wilds of the Midwest? Are Foreigner roaming the desert plains, terrorising townsfolk with their power ballads?

But hang on- if Tom Petty is playing Tom Petty, doesn’t that mean that Kevin Costner should be playing Kevin Costner? The bewildering post modernism of it all is the only thing now keeping us awake.

The Postman

“I was clean shaven when this film began..”

Within The Postman, somewhere buried deep, there’s an inspiring tale of battered honour and hard fought redemption – exactly like those films which catapulted Costner into the position where he had the necessary clout to fart out this kind of effluence.

But you don’t have to be the lead character in a Dan Brown novel to recognise The Postman’s symbolism, as it repeatedly bashes you over the head with a heavy cardboard tube….

Costner is an enigmatic and reluctant leader who arrives, seemingly from nowhere, whose people, literally disciples, are inspired to rise up against oppressors who misunderstand and fear him, ultimately sacrificing himself so that his message of love and hope and peace can live forever with the promise of a brave new world.

Hmmmmm, this metaphor is a little difficult to comprehend. Perhaps one final nail in the cross might just hammer the point home.

 

He’s the Postal Christ.

 

The Mailman Messiah.

 

So, it’s a Jesus analogy… if Jesus spent his whole time admiring himself in the mirror and delivering Amazon vouchers.

This is a movie starring Kevin Costner in the title role, that’s also produced and directed by Kevin Costner in which a massive statue of Kevin Costner is unveiled at the very end, just as a sickly sweet, diabetes-inducing cover version of “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” kicks in.

A song that’s performed by Kevin Costner.

 Well, we all know he does so love a Happy Finish.

Costner delivers some emotion and harmonies.

  The Postman trailer (Fittingly, it’s an incredibly long 3’48″)

 

 

 

 

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