Directed by Michael Radford
Starring: Massimo Troisi, Philippe Noiret, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Linda Moretti
Given that its leading man basically gave his life to bring “Il Postino” to the screen (at least in the form we see it now), criticising the film feels rather like kicking a puppy. Nevertheless, its depiction of an insular Italian community – and the man at the centre of it – is disappointingly narrow, plumbing the sweetness of quaint, small-town living rather than expanding upon the relationships Massimo Troisi's Mario has with his girlfriend and her mother. Troisi himself gives a soulful turn which adds to the proceedings, but the film misjudges the measure of Mario, charting his enlightenment far too drastically. We're supposed to believe that his new-found engagement with poetry has also ignited political motivations in his character, but why? The integration of politics is a half-baked device devised to add drama to a story otherwise devoid of it, and snatch at our emotions with a late manipulative climax. Radford's routinely tepid direction adds very little in the way of flair, while Luis Bacalov's nice but earnest musical accompaniment reinforces how dreary the entire affair is.