The Postman


SF elements

post-apocalypse USA


In a near-future world devastated by war and plague, civilisation is hanging on precariously in scattered settlements. But it is threatened by the self-styled "General" Bethlehem [Will Patton] and his army of thugs, demanding tribute and men to boost their numbers. A drifter [Kevin Costner], pressed into the army, manages to escape, and discovers a pre-crash postman's uniform and postbag of old mail. He uses these to con his way into a settlement, by pretending he's part of a restored US government. But what starts out as a way to get food and shelter captures the people's imagination and desire to believe, and takes on a life of its own. Soon, he discovers he has become the semi-mythical Postman, in direct conflict with Bethlehem.

Loosely based on David Brin's novel, this three-hour Costner epic has been panned by most critics. I rather enjoyed it, however. The film is long, certainly, but that time is used to give depth and pack in a fair number of sub-plots, rather than just dragging along. Costner, as the unwilling accidental hero, is good, and most of the secondary characters are believably complex.

Rating: 3

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 1 January 2001