The Postman movie , starring Kevin Costner, was loosely based on the post-apocalyptic novel written in 1985 by scientist, public speaker and world-known author, David Brin. Interestingly enough, Brin first published The Postman in 1982 as a novella in the still very popular Sci-Fi magazine, Asimov’s.
Eric Roth, known for writing and producing Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and Forrest Gump (1994), and writer and director Brian Helgeland are both credited for writing The Postman screenplay. It went through many writes and rewrites with Roth at the helm before finally falling into place after a newly hired Helgeland teamed up with director Kevin Costner. Together they restored some of the original scenes, which pleased author Brin. See more at: http://www.davidbrin.com/postmanmovie.html#sthash.tLJ2HXRo.dpuf
As the movies goes, America was virtually destroyed by what could have been an EMP or maybe a nuclear war. Personally, I was never clear on the cause but whatever it was, it caused strange weather patterns, food shortages, panic, and fighting. There were no more modern conveniences. People organized themselves the best they could into small independent communities. There was no way to contact people outside the community so many were left to wonder if their distant relatives survived the catastrophe. The American spirit suffered. Oddly enough there were some people that chose to travel about and never join an organized community. They were called stragglers and vagabonds. Our main character known as Shakespeare a/k/a the Postman was one of those people.
A crazed man who called himself General Bethlehem led a group of hooligans that called themselves the Holnists Army. They considered themselves the law of the land and were feared by all. Basically, they were the bullies and they pillaged and terrorized all the good people. The good people felt they couldn’t fight alone for their freedom so they conformed to living in fear and sought out what little happiness they could, when they could. When the Postman arrived on the scene, he was able to deliver more than the mail, but not by choice. You will have to watch it to see how the story unfolds and I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.
Bethlehem’s character was brilliantly played by Will Patton, which by the way was a great choice. He played a crazed man with ease in another Costner movie, No Way Out.
Unfortunately, this film didn’t get much acclaim which I thought was unfortunate because I loved it. It made me feel patriotic. The American people rose to the occasion when given a little hope. In my opinion, the reason it didn’t receive much notice was because it came out same year as the movie, Titanic – it didn’t have a chance although it was just as good.
I found several things interesting in this movie outside the story itself. It was interesting that Tom Petty played a future version of himself. He was the BridgeCity mayor. When the Postman met him he said, “I know you. You’re famous.” Later, Tom Petty repeats that line to Costner when he discovers that he is “The Postman.” This scene showed how society changed. Fame from the old days meant nothing in New America. The Postman was the hero, not a rock star. I also got a chuckle when the character Ford Lincoln Mercury was introduced. How more American can you get with a name like that … unless you throw in some baseball and apple pie!
When someone tells you a story and it’s passed on and the next person passes it on and so on and so forth, the story grows until it’s not even the same story anymore. It may have remnants of the original story but it changes along the way. That is the story of The Postman. And there you have it!
On a side note, watch for the young boy that hands his letter to the Postman riding by on his horse. It’s Costner’s real life son.