Postman Blues | Chicago Reader

Postman Blues

Sabu's second film takes us on another of his signature wild rides, here led by a postman on a red bicycle who blithely pedals his way through finger-chopping yakuza, trigger-happy cops, and existential hit men. Postman Blues was made in 1997, the same year as Norwegian Pal Sletaune's Junk Mail and a couple of years after Chinese He Jianjun's Postman—proof that the letter carrier as disaffected functionary gone postal is a universal figure. When they aren't dumping the mail in abandoned railroad yards or reading letters in drunken ennui, the postmen heroes of these films are drawn like flies to suicidal or terminally ill women who seem to represent something vastly better than what they've got, though whether it's love or death isn't immediately apparent. Here the woman is a beautiful young cancer patient who adds a lyrical splash to the film's absurdist palette. For, characteristically, Sabu's focus remains on the runaway logic of genre. There's the police procedural: detectives “discover” in our innocent hero's innocuous rounds shocking proof that he's a sadistic serial-killer terrorist and mobilize half the city to catch him. Then there's the saga of the philosophical assassin in a dark suit and dark glasses, whose failing health may cost him a coveted “hit man of the year” victory over his similarly outfitted brethren. But unlike Sabu's earlier Non-stop or later Unlucky Monkey, Postman Blues creates real tension between the idiotic juggernaut of events and the genuinely interesting oddball characters caught in its path. 110 min.

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