The Postman Cometh and Hope Rides with Him
I recently stumbled across an old movie that I had forgotten about. It was Kevin Costner’s The Postman, and once I caught a glimpse of it, I just had to see the whole thing.
At the heart of the story is the idea that the power of hope is undeniable even in the most dire of situations. Let’s delve a little deeper though.
Hope after Devastation
The world has been devastated by war, and all civilization and technology has devolved down to a base level. In what was once the United States of America, people now struggle to survive in isolated communities while a private army ravages the land and demands fealty from all.
In this environment, a loner becomes a symbol of hope in way that he could have never imagined. His actions lead to the restoration of links between the isolated communities through something as simple as the mail.
His motives initially were entirely self-serving but the hope he gave out was like crumbs of breads for the starving masses. It took on a life of its own, and simply could not be stopped.
The Postman Poster
Intentions vs Consequences
An interesting element of the story is that all the good that was accomplished was built on a lie. It was all a scam to get a warm meal and bed for a night.
It is hard to say that the intention invalidated the consequences though. There were vast and positive changes that occurred as a result of that lie throughout the story.
Human Nature in Dire Situations
The setting of this story is in a post-apocalyptic world, and it’s always interesting think about how humans will behavior when all societal norms are broken and civilization can no longer encourage good behavior.
This movie paints the picture starkly in black and white. On one hand you have good people just trying to survive in their little communities, and then on the other hand you have an army built on an ethnically pure and survival of the fittest ideology. It is instantly clear who the audience is supposed to support.
So in this one area, I felt that the story fell short because it didn’t truly explore the likely consequences of societal collapse. Overall though, it’s a great movie, even despite the fact that it’s almost three hours long.