Most of the sordid story unfolds at the Twin Oaks Tavern, a sparsely attended roadside diner owned by a Greek man (John Colicos, The Changeling) whose prized possession is either the place, his record player or his much-younger wife, Cora (Lange, TV’s American Horror Story). Much bored, she perks up when Frank (Nicholson) drifts in. Unhygienic copulation results, and before you can say “Double Indemnity,” Frank’s convincing Cora her spouse needs to be killed so they can be together forever.
You know how these things go for such characters: poorly, which arguably is the whole appeal for noir. Directed by Five Easy Pieces‘ Bob Rafelson, who didn’t move on to better things, and adapted by David Mamet, who did, Postman is half a great picture, all in the first half. There, chemistry, tension and suspense are in their strongest supply, whereas the back half suffers from moving from the Twin Oaks grounds to everywhere from the courtroom to the circus tent.
Warner Bros.’ clean, crisp Blu-ray nonetheless retains the film’s slightly gauzy haze reflective of its dirt-kicking, Depression-era setting, but arrives woefully light in way of extras. — Rod Lott