Absurd. Wonderful. Inventive. Ironic. Funny. Daft. Clever.Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, an adaptation of aPratchett Discworld novel, is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Made in 2010, this British television import nearly defies description, it is that original. Sometimes one makes recommendations about films based on “If you enjoy…then you’ll enjoy…,” but it’s difficult to think of a movie to whichGoing Postal compares. However, as I began watching the first half, I kept thinking about Sweeney Todd and Edward Scissorhands, because Going Postal—filmed in Budapest—has the look of early Scissorhands scenes and much of the drabness of Todd. Upon further reflection, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was also brought to mind. So…if you enjoy Tim Burton films, you’ll enjoy Going Postal.
Moist Von Lipwig (Richard Coyle) is a con man who cheated a lot of people out of a lot of money, and left a lot of misery in his wake, although he wasn’t the kind of guy who thought of repercussions. He is “saved” from hanging by Lord Vetinari (Charles Dance), who gives him a choice: a painful death falling from a great height or a job as postmaster. It’s a difficult choice.
Von Lipwig opts for postmaster, planning on conning his way out of the job. He learns that the last five postmasters died untimely, painful deaths and the mail hasn’t been delivered in four years, leaving huge piles of letters everywhere—including the apartment that comes with the job. There is another method of information transfer, “The Clacks,” which is run by the evil Reacher Gilt (David Suchet) who will stop at nothing to maintain his monopoly. The competition is on.
Coyle, Dance, Suchet, and Claire Foy (as Adora Belle Dearheart) give splendidly nuanced performances; employing a masterful range of facial expressions coupled with flawless delivery, they bring their characters to believable life–it’s difficult to turn away from the screen. An excellent supporting cast keeps everything rollicking along; of particular note is Tamsin Grieg as a reporter who’s subtle expressions convey volumes.
There are also golems, werewolves, spirits, and a banshee to sustain interest. It’s all fantasy and wordplay, and it works very well. (DVD release date: September 20, 2011. Extra features include Terry Pratchett video introduction, director’s audio commentary, interviews, deleted scenes, blooper reel, and image galleries.)