Film: The Postman (1997)

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Film:

The Postman

Director: Kevin Costner
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Warner Home Video

Falling from the Oscar-winning glory of Dances with Wolves to the opposite end of the critical and box-office scale, Kevin Costner must have been deeply humbled when this three-hour postapocalyptic tale—his sophomore effort as a director—was greeted with a critical thrashing and tepid audience response. One of the most conspicuous flops of its decade, the 1997 release must have seemed like a sure thing on paper: a kind of futurist Western starring Costner as a charismatic drifter-turned-hero who leads the resistance against a military tyrant (Will Patton)…

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Falling from the Oscar-winning glory of Dances with Wolves to the opposite end of the critical and box-office scale, Kevin Costner must have been deeply humbled when this three-hour postapocalyptic tale—his sophomore effort as a director—was greeted with a critical thrashing and tepid audience response. One of the most conspicuous flops of its decade, the 1997 release must have seemed like a sure thing on paper: a kind of futurist Western starring Costner as a charismatic drifter-turned-hero who leads the resistance against a military tyrant (Will Patton) by reviving the long-dormant postal system to reunite isolated communities in their fight for freedom. The movie bombed, but, like many audacious failures, it’s got qualities that make it at least partially endearing, and its earnestness (although bordering on corny) keeps it from being entirely silly. Faint praise, perhaps, but Costner’s ode to patriotism is occasionally stirring and visually impressive. The dual-layered, widescreen DVD includes a documentary segment about the creation of the film’s special effects sequences, featuring a running commentary by the special effects creators. —Jeff Shannon

Related Works

Album:The Postman: Original Score

The Postman: Original Score

James Newton Howard

Book:The Postman: A Novel

The Postman: A Novel

David Brin

This is the story of a lie that became the most powerful kind of truth.  A timeless novel as urgently compelling as War Day or Alas, Babylon, David Brin’s The Postman is the dramatically moving saga of a man who rekindled the spirit of America through the power of a dream, from a modern master of science fiction.

He was a survivor—a wanderer who traded tales for food and shelter in the dark and savage aftermath of a devastating war.  Fate touches him one chill winter’s day when he borrows the jacket of a long-dead postal worker to protect himself from the cold.  The old, worn uniform still has power as a symbol of hope, and with it he begins to weave his greatest tale, of a nation on the road to recovery.

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