Film Review: Postal

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

2007

Directed by Uwe Boll

Uwe Boll is among the most hated directors working today. In my opinion,  there are only three other serious  contenders for this crown: Michael Bay, Joel Schumacher and Tyler Perry.  Bay for ravaging our childhoods with the Transformers movies, Schumacher for ruining Batman and Perry for being Tyler Perry.  Uwe Boll is notorious for making films adapted from videogames and challenging those who rate them poorly to a boxing match. These seem on the surface to be the actions of a madman, equivalent to the scenes in Network where newscaster Howard Beale loses it on the air, threatening to commit suicide, informing America the he is “out of bullshit” and telling millions of viewers to open up their window and scream “I’m mad as Hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” Boll is a public relations nightmare and the antithesis of what film school kids, the intelligentsia and just about anybody in this country who can claim to have “good taste” without having an eyebrow raised in their direction thinks a good film is . But maybe there’s something more to Boll. Let’s take a look at that. Many of you who frequent this blog are Bizarro fans and you know to give some thought to things that are more than they appear. Postal is one of those things.

Postal opens with a scene too offensive and challenging to ignore. This scene:

This scene is almost undeniably in poor taste. But, at the same time, it tells you that something satirical and wildly inappropriate is about to happen. It promises a kind of film you don’t see very often, a film that is unafraid to be crass and also unafraid to be substantial. We praise the likes of Bunuel for doing this, we expect all our greatest comedies to do this. Even though the scene is offensive. It makes a promise. The question is, will the rest of Postal keep this promise or will it be only crass, like challenging critics to fight or making a film out of Dungeon Siege?

The next scene introduces the film’s hero, Dude (Zack Ward), lives in a trailer park with his fat, slovenly cheating wife.  He has been trying to no avail, to find a job. The world around him is media dominated and consumed by poverty. Our cultural disorder has grown, flourished and overgrown society. Tom Cruise is in a police standoff. Osama bin Laden’s operatives work out of the back room of a convenience store. Cops shoot old ladies for copping an attitude. Cruelty and stupidity are the default in Boll’s post 911 America.  Dude is forced to seek help from his Uncle Dave, leader of a Christian hippie doomsday cult, a jaded shyster played by Dave Foley.  Dave offers Dude a chance to get in on a probably illegal business opportunity, which he initially refuses until his trip to the welfare office results in witnessing  a bloodbath and he ends up accidentally killing someone who pulls a gun on him. He grows tired of the violence and the bullshit around him and decides that there’s no good reason to play by the rules.

Dave’s plan revolves around stealing a shipment of Krotchy dolls, a popular and phallic new toy from a Nazi themed amusement park. A toy Osama bin Laden’s terrorists also want to get ahold of.   Boll himself is on hand at the park and parodies himself and his reputation to great comic effect, confessing to being a child molester and funding his movies with Nazi gold. Boll is unashamed of being hated, the man who was once accused of being too sensitive to critique, is willing to bank on having the worst reputation in American pop culture. The apeshit that ensues after this, the betrayals, the turnabout, the violence, the chaos, Verne Troyer in a trunk lead up to Dude going well, Postal. It almost doesn’t matter what happens at this point. Just like, according to the movie, it doesn’t matter who is lying to you, as long as you are being lied to. It doesn’t matter who tries to ruin society as long as someone is doing it.

It might seem nihilistic, but he’s right. Stupid is stupid and stupid is ubiquitous. Cruel is cruel and cruelty is ubiquitous. Postal sets politics aside and liberalism and conservatism alike aside to call into question our culture of ignorance and violence. Which is not the product of media violence but media stupidity, political stupidity and incivility. Postal lags at times, Postal inundates you with unnecessary actions and sometimes piles on the filth when it doesn’t need to piled on, but it’s a movie that means something and it’s good satire. Boll has a talent for over-the-top Bizarro splatstick, one I hope he indulges in again in the future.

7.5/10

 

Comments
  1. Postal was awesome. Rampage was really good too in a “I am really appreciating this movie but am not enjoying it” sort of way.

    • garrettcook says:

      I’ve still gotta watch Rampage. But something keeps holding me back, even though I really enjoy Postal. Sometime I’ll be in the right mood. Is it like a Taxi Driver/ Falling Down kind of thing?

      • Bradley Sands says:

        Yeah, but more hardcore. Not as good, but still very good. I think there’s things to enjoy about those two movies though. It’s a really disturbing movie. Pretty harsh on my nerves.

  2. garrettcook says:

    I’ll look into it then. That’s one of my favorite genres of movie. I’m sure you’re totally surprised by that.

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