Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Don't Go Postal, but Costner Fails to Deliver with `Postman'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Don't Go Postal, but Costner Fails to Deliver with `Postman'

Article excerpt

I wanted to like The Postman. I really did. I loved the book

it's based on and generally have a fascination with anything

about the end of the civilized world, the one blot on my

otherwise-sunny disposition.

The Postman had some promise and does remain mildly

entertaining throughout. It could have been so much more,

though, but for the dozens of frustrating moments where

director/star Kevin Costner keeps mucking it up.

After Waterworld and The Postman, perhaps Costner should leave

the apocalypse alone.

It's 2013, and he's a no-name drifter in an America destroyed

by wars and plagues. The few remaining people are picked upon by

a horde of rampaging white-supremacist survivalists. On the run

from those villains, Costner stumbles on an old U.S. Mail truck

and, for warmth, takes the jacket and hat of the skeletal

postman inside.

He goes to a village pretending to be a postman from "The

Restored United States," trying to con the villagers into some

food and shelter. Trouble is, the people believe him -- and soon

a network of postal carriers is up and running, reuniting the

scattered villages of Oregon, bringing them news and, more

importantly, hope.

That gets the attention of the survivalists, who decide to

crush this little flicker of civilization.

It's not necessarily the movie's length -- it's almost three

hours long -- that's the problem. And it's not the basic concept

of a mail carrier as hero, which has had preview audiences

chuckling for weeks.

No. It's The Postman's bloated, self-consciously epic style

that sinks it.

The first sign that something's wrong comes early, in its

opening moments, as a narrator introduces us to Costner as he

trudges across the Great Salt Lake.

"In those days, he walked alone," she says, "a solitary witness

to the madness that reigned."

Yuck. Sure, one of the better endof-the-world movies, The Road

Warrior also began with such purple prose. But it quickly

settled into a lean, mean rhythm.

Not The Postman. It wallows in John Ford Western majesty,

backed up by a James Newton Howard score that's too majestic by

half. …

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