The Postman | Chicago Reader

The Postman

It's tempting to accuse director and star Kevin Costner of taking the idea of vanity production to a new level in this frontier adventure based on a book by David Brin. Costner plays a loner who's selfish and compassionate in equal amounts—which makes him better than almost everyone else in the American west in 2013. A self-styled feudal lord (Will Patton), with an army of conscripts he supplements through kidnapping and indoctrination, terrorizes the isolated communities that dot the newly postindustrial countryside. Costner's character may be subject to abduction, but he can't be brainwashed; after narrowly escaping servitude, he inadvertently starts a revolution. The degree of adulation his character comes to receive exceeds idolatry, but Costner manages, with touches of humor and ever so mild self-deprecation, to make the act of making a movie in which he more or less plays the new messiah seem as good-hearted as it does perverse. Written by Eric Roth and Brian Helgeland.

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