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STUDIO: Acorn Media
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 185 minutes
• Commentary by director Jon Jones
• Video introduction by Terry Pratchett
• Cast, crew, and fan interviews
• Blooper reel
• Deleted scenes
• Image galleries
Set in Terry Pratchett’s satirical Discworld universe, Going Postal revolves around charlatan Moist von Lipwig, who is sentenced to run a derelict post office and go toe-to-toe with the nefarious businessman Reacher Gilt.
Directed by Jon Jones, based on the book by Terry Pratchett, starring Richard Coyle, Charles Dance, David Suchet, and Claire Foy.
As the USPS crumbles around us, Going Postal is a wickedly fun and clever ride that’s also highly topical.
With nearly everyone paying their bills online and staying in touch via the internet, the United States Postal Services (USPS) has been hemorrhaging money for years. Despite losing billions of dollars a year, they’re somehow still kicking – stuffing my mailbox with Bed Bath & Beyond catalogs and crummy circulars. But as more and more people turn to the internet, the role of the stalwart postal carrier dissolves. Turns out Discworld’s post office isn’t doing so well either.
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld mythos is one of the grand achievements of the fantasy genre – spanning around 40 novels and a grip of stage, radio, TV, comic book, and film adaptations. UK production company Sky One has adapted three Discworld works: Hogfather, The Colour of Magic, and their latest Going Postal. Based on the 33rd Discworld novel of the same name, Going Postal follows con man Moist von Lipwig (Richard Coyle) as he’s given the choice between death and becoming the new postmaster. He begrudgingly chooses the title and is escorted to the post office by his parole officer – a golem named Pump.
Moist quickly learns that the archaic post office has been overshadowed by the more technology advanced means of communication known as “Clack” towers. Clacks are large, wooden semaphore towers that relay messages using coded lights. The Clack game is run by amoral one-eyed businessman Reacher Gilt – a man who gets off on murder, money, and his shitty, technological clunky Clack towers. He soon becomes the mote in Moist’s eye.
Gilt and Moist go back and forth in a war of technology versus old-fashioned footwork – all culminating in a race to see who can deliver a message 1,700 miles away. The stakes are high: the future of the post office and Moist’s life. Moist is aided by elderly, loyal postman Tolliver Goat, creepy, pin-obsessed Stanley Howler, and the seductive Adora Belle Dearheart (Claire Foy).
The tone of Going Postal remains consistently fun and lighthearted throughout, but there are some surprisingly dark moments, especially when Moist has nightmares about the victims he’s conned in his past. His criminal past haunts Moist and at his lowest, he wishes for an end to it all. While he saw the con game as a victimless crime, the reality is that he ruined a lot of people’s lives. His faithful Golem Pump helps pull him out of his well of misery and Moist is able to throw himself into his new role as postmaster. He takes the reigns and uses his title as a way to redemption, but not without a few hiccups along the way.
As Moist, Richard Coyle (who stars in the UK remake of Pusher) delivers a fantastic comedic performance that’s addictive to watch. He bounce back and forth between suave con artist to broken man to suave postmaster with silky ease all while filling out a gold suit and ridiculous hat without making it look silly. Claire Foy plays the straight-faced Adora well and her and Coyle have an obscene amount of chemistry.
I’m not gonna front. I’ve never read any of Terry’s novels and Going Postal was my introduction to the Discworld universe. I ‘m glad I didn’t dismiss it right away as a goofy, steampunk-ish fantasy romp. There’s a lot of great satire in the tale and heaps of genuine heart. It’s not difficult to settle into the world of Discworld either. There didn’t seem to be any in-jokes or references only diehards would catch – if there were, they didn’t detract from the story at all. There are mentions of werewolves and trolls, but the golems were the only fantasy element really present.
Going Postal is a fast-paced, richly designed blast of satirical fantasy fun. It surely doesn’t feel like three hours long (split into two “episodes”). It definitely left me itching to explore more of Pratchett’s Discworld universe.
COMMENTARY: Director Jon Jones talks about designing the Clack system. He assures the audience that the system they designed does work. His commentary track is super informative as he covers the intricate set designs, nailing the scale of the post office, and his respect for people who collect things – even pins.
TERRY PRACHETT VIDEO INTRODUCTION: The delightful Pratchett states how much he loved watching the filming – he was especially blown away by the set details. He also admits to falling in hetero-love with Richard Coyle. I honestly can’t blame him.
INTEVIEW: over an hour of exhaustive interviews with the likes of Pratchett, director Jones, the costume department, the make-up department, Discworld fans, and the cast. The interviews with the fans are fantastic. Sky One invited many of them to travel to Hungary and be extras in the film. That’s really awesome in my book.
DELETED SCENES: Six deleted scenes. Not much juice here.
IMAGE GALLERIES: Storyboards, props, and set drawings. The prop drawings in particular are great to watch and reveal just how much freaking detail went into every aspect of the film.
BLOOPERS: It’s really funny to watch a golem dance.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars