Urban Cinefile
"Phar Lap was the ultimate loser - adored and even pickled in formaldehyde once good and dead and murdered."  -The Bitch, in Urban Cinefile, about Australia's love of losers
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday, October 18, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

POSTMAN, THE

SYNOPSIS:
The year is 2013, on the Great Salt Flats of Utah. In the aftermath of a cataclysmic world war, the human race has been fragmented and scattered. The government of the United States has collapsed, and now anarchy reigns. Small communities across the remains of the country jealously protect what they have by offering tribute and goods to the dictatorial General Bethlehem (Will Patton), whose army of bandits and murderers controls everything. Any settlement that defies Bethlehem is quickly razed. One day, a solitary wanderer (Costner) enters a small town to present a one-man Shakespeare show as a means of earning a little food and shelter. General Bethlehem pays a surprise visit to this village and the nameless loner is conscripted into the Holnist army, but it isn't long before he escapes. Fleeing from search parties, he hides out in an old, broken down mail carrier's truck. Taking the full letterbag and the coat off a skeleton, he becomes the Postman. And, as he travels from town-to-town, inventing words of hope about the "Reformed Congress of the United States" and giving out letters, his reputation spreads, and Bethlehem determines that he's a threat to be hunted down. He is offering hope! Heís spreading communication!

"Beautiful to look at with spectacular backdrops and settings, The Postman is a story of survival and hope, brought to the screen with symbolism and passion by Kevin Costner. The question, of course, is whether or not the cinema-loving audience may be getting tired of Costner playing the loner who joins in and becomes the unwilling hero? He mastered the role in Dances With Wolves, tried again in Waterworld; here the futuristic element is married with the barren desert. For maximum effect, the role should in fact be played by a character a little less likeable, in order to give effect to his redemption. And the film is way too long. But having said that, there is much to enjoy in The Postman. Based on David Brinís book, the story is rich with concepts, which on screen translate mostly into an effective sprawling saga. Will Patton makes an effective adversary - callous, decisive and totally lacking in conscience. But stripped to the bone, the two men are both revealed as having more in common than meets the eye - their differences evoking from the different paths chosen. Content with solitude and his own company, Costnerís central character fights at first for his survival, then for his freedom and finally for what he believes in. Experienced stage actress, Olivia Williams makes a stunning film debut, which will no doubt propel her into stardom. Beautifully crafted with sweeping cinematography and excellent production values, The Postman is a moving and engaging saga - flawed, but well worth the journey."
Louise Keller

"Yes and no: yes, itís flawed, as both Louise (above) and Paul (below) feel. No, itís not a bad film, as its most adamant critics would have it. (Says Roger Ebert of the Chicago-Sun Times: "There are those who will no doubt call The Postman' the worst film of the year, but it's too good-hearted for that. It's goofy, yes, and pretentious, and Kevin Costner puts himself in situations that get snickers. And it's way too long.") But Ebert ends up kindly disappointed, rather than vitriolic, and I share that response. It is a film with a big heart but little originality; with fantastic photography (thanks to Aussie cameraman Steve Windon) but weak structure; with a terrific female lead in Williams, and a strong protagnoist in Patton, but a lacklustre hero Ė Kevin Costner trying to be Clint Eastwood. With grand ideas but cheesy execution. The best parts of the film (excellent visuals and technicals aside) come from the novelistís imagination: the ideals and passions that drive individuals to instinctively resist dictators and un-freedom; the underlined message that all it takes for evil to succeed in this world is for good men to do nothing; the notion of a man becoming, despite himself, a heroic figure capable of inspiration. And the importance of communication between the oppressed and isolated. The novel was science fiction, but based very much within the human soul; the film is an attempt at matching this. Sadly, it didnít quite make it."
Andrew L. Urban

"After realising that it's a far more impressive work than many of the critics have given it credit for, it's hard to fathom what lay behind much of the vitriol. It's flawed, certainly, somewhat jingoistic to be sure, but on a purely cinematic level, this is a larger-than-life boldly painted canvas, a richly detailed movie that is ravishing to the eye, and a darn good yarn. It's old-fashioned movie making pure and simple, and to Costner's credit, he has taken plenty of risk here in creating a mythological Western, laced it with some wry humour, and crafted a full-on entertaining adventur. It's all here: the reluctant hero, the beautiful but strong woman, the heinous villain and the spectacle of it all, enveloped in a simplistic ride. The Postman is futuristic fable, classically structured and masterfully put together. The stunning cinematography, James Newton Howard's rousing musical score, the choreography of the battle scenes, all are done with an eye and ear for cinema. Costner is a man in love with the movies, and this passion is evident here. Sure it could have been tighter, but it's not dull, it's fun to watch. Costner is perfect as the cynical anti-hero of the piece, capturing both his idealism and cynicism nicely, while Will Patton is an irresistible foe, an expert in Shakespeare and a classic villain. British newcomer Olivia Williams was plucked out of obscurity to play the young woman who eventually hooks up with the postman, and she's a find: alluring, passionate, strong, vulnerable. The Postman may have difficulty finding an audience with its length and regrettable reputation, and while no means perfect, it's grand-scale entertainment well worth seeking out."
Paul Fischer

Email this article

_________________

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

_________________

THE POSTMAN (M)
(US)

CAST: Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Larenz Tate, Olivia Williams, James Russo, Tom Petty

DIRECTOR: Kevin Costner

PRODUCER: Jim Wilson, Steve Tisch, and Kevin Costner

SCRIPT: Eric Roth and Brian Helgeland, (based on the book by David Brin)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen Windon

EDITOR: Peter Boyle

MUSIC: James Newton Howard

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ida Random

RUNNING TIME: 3 hrs

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: February 12, 1998







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017