Book adaptations are often shunned, usually for failing to condense the book’s subplots and themes into a palatable length for the screen. For the few that do get made, they’re the passion projects of the creatives, who would be willing to cross the established Rubicons of their artistic mediums, One such example took a Post-Apocalyptic tome and distilled it into a three-hour parable. A tale on the subject of liberty, and ideologies, a tale called The Postman.
The Postman takes place in the futuristic year of 2013, long after the apocalypse reduced civilization to ruins, we meet a man and his horse, who travels town to town, putting on Shakespeare performances to the villagers. He is conscripted into the fascist ranks of General Bethlehem’s army by mistake and escapes from their brutish ways. While hiding, he encounters a dead postman and takes it upon himself to deliver the long-forgotten mail, His deeds soon offer him a dedicated following of emulators. This movement grows in popularity and could threaten General Bethlehem’s tyrannical grip on the settlements.
Kevin Costner takes the reigns of this project, as the eponymous Postman and it appears that the years of wondering has had an effect on him, He has flashbacks to a time long-forgotten He brings comedy into the role, but not so much that the film becomes a parody of itself. At the start, the film feels similar to the starts of Fallout and The Omega Man, and as the cause of the downfall isn’t explained but the clues are there. The ruined west coast, like the aforementioned Fallout, is home to settlements that are impressive in their layout and breath-taking scenery. One such settlement is fortunate to have Tom Petty as mayor. Rock-stars aren’t just the only people our hero meets, as he encounters young couples, people named after cars, and cautious leaders in this fully realised world.
Bethlehem and co., like in the book, are inspired by the teachings of Holn. We only encounter Holn as a reference, but the film paints him as a cross between L Ron Hubbard and Howard Beale, So much so that his apparent death hasn’t stopped his cult-like devotion, or if his name is being used to further justify Bethlehem’s assault. The lavishly decorated office of Bethlehem shows us he’s a Philosopher King in nature so this might be the case.
Despite its post-apocalyptic tinge, The Postman hawks back to a simpler time in the history of America, a time of good and evil and when the ideas of the enlightenment were set, that still burns today. That still burns into the forgotten ash. The Postman brings sentimentality, comedy, and lavish world-building into its three hours run-time and delivers a story that blends all these elements well. If you’re looking for an epic that truly embodies that word, The Postman has the package for you.
If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!