Canwest News Service
May 16, 2008
Uwe Boll doesn't make art. He makes what could be considered its antithesis: Purposefully violent and vulgar filmed adventures that force the viewer to question the value, and purpose, of human expression.
After all, when a movie opens with a send-up of 9/11 hijackers in the cockpit and ends with George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden holding hands in a post-Apocalyptic sunset, you're not all that inspired to think of life's hidden beauty or mystical meaning.
All you can do is marvel at the filmmaker's courage in the face of blind jingoism for calling things as he sees them and in Boll's case, most of what he sees in the perfect folds of the Stars and Stripes seems to be hate, hypocrisy and shallow attempts to justify the murder of innocents in the name of patriotic fidelity.
It's a jarring mix, but there's an undeniable levity in Postal that gives it a joie de vivre in the face of so much bloody violence.
Borrowing the thin thread from the video game that inspired it, Postal centres on the hard luck of a nice young man known only as Dude (Zack Ward). When we meet Dude he's applying for a job at a local corporation, getting raked over the coals by a sadistic interviewer who enjoys making him squirm.
After some significant snags, Dude ends up working alongside Uncle Dave (Dave Foley) - a religious guru facing tax fraud.
Uncle Dave needs a big cash infusion. So does Osama bin Laden.
Both believe they've found the answer to their woes in the Krotchy Doll - a super popular kids' toy that's in short supply. The only place where you can buy a Krotchy Doll is at Little Germany, a theme park run by Uwe Boll - who plays himself as a beer-swilling Bavarian in lederhosen, proud to receive funding in the form of Nazi gold.
Boll is clearly having fun with his own stereotype (he's actually been accused of using Nazi gold by his many online haters), but he's also having a lot of fun with every other stereotype he can squeeze into his 100-minute feature.
From bimbos to Nazis, rednecks to racist cops, Asian drivers to hayseed presidents, Boll goes out of his way to implicate just about everyone in this global satire of our current reality.
He also works hard to smash every cinematic taboo in the books, from gunplay featuring children to full-frontal male nudity (way to let it all hang out, Mr. Foley).
It's a tough formula to pull off, but when it works, it can give birth to classics such as Dr. Strangelove or Team America.
Boll doesn't have the same budget, or the same degree of writerly craft at his disposal as his cutting-edge predecessors, but Postal still sacrifices the force of political correctness on such a big cross, it's a formidable spectacle all the same.