Title – The Postman (1997)
Director – Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves)
Cast – Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Olivia Williams, Larenz Tate
Plot – In post-apocalyptic America, a nameless drifter (Costner) who dons the uniform of a deceased postman begins to offer hope to various communities that had long since lost it, while his antics anger local warlord General Bethlehem (Patton).
“It’s gotta be the uniform”
Review by Eddie on 17/06/2022
In the history of Hollywood flops and failures, there aren’t too many more well known misfires than Kevin Costner’s expensive and excessive post-apocalyptic event The Postman.
Holding a dismal 8% approval rating on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, winning 5 Razzie awards in 1998 including Worst Picture, Worst Actor and Worst Director and making a meagre $20 million dollars back at the worldwide box office off an estimated budget of $80 million, Costner’s second foray behind the camera following his global triumph and awards darling Dances with Wolves from 1990 didn’t exactly go to plan, as his three hour adaptation of David Brin’s novel knocked his career trajectory down a peg or two in the years that were to follow.
Taking all of this into account, it’s almost strange to report in today’s time and place that despite its many missteps and poorly developed components, The Postman is not at all “that bad” of a film and far from the Razzie-clad dumpster fire that some may conclude it to be without ever having themselves partaken in Costner’s nameless postal delivery heroes journey across a desolated America that has long since lost sight of itself in the midst of years of war, famine and disaster.
Set in the futuristic year of 2013, The Postman see’s Costner cast himself front and center to most of the films scenes, as his Shakespeare loving drifter finds himself become a pillar of hope in a landscape desperate to find a light in a dark situation as his quest to deliver old mail to American citizen’s made harder by the fact Will Patton’s bloodthirsty warlord General Bethlehem is hellbent on ensuring any glimmer of the America of old is held at bay by his army of brainwashed soldiers.
Everything about the film and its story is over the top, from Patton’s ridiculous and miscast performance, the films on the nose dialogue that seems to revel in its stars and stripes grandness at every possible moment and Costner’s insistence that his character is indeed one of those men that young people want to be, woman want to bed and macho men want to fight but there’s also something about The Postman that can’t be denied from its impressive sets, its insistence on everything being over the top, Costner’s clear commitment to his vision and James Newton Howard’s epic score.
With so much of the film done practically, whatever someone might say about its failings in many various areas there is a craftsmanship found in Costner’s adventure that is rarely seen in today’s CGI infused outings and if you’re willing as a viewer to just go along with a film that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, there’s a misunderstood and overly criticized feature film to be found here that time has been relatively kind to in the years since its lambasted release.
Final Say –
You wouldn’t shout about The Postman from the rooftops but there’s no doubt the films reputation as an all time clunker is slightly overdone as Costner’s impressively put together post-apocalyptic tale still provides enough entertainment to justify a revaluation from today’s audiences.
3 performing mules out of 5