by Emily Reuben
Similar to Tatterdemalion (you can read our review of it here), No Postage Necessary is another independent film premiering at Heartland Film Festival. No Postage Necessary is unique because it is created using actual film, which is nearly a lost art in the cinematic world. Director Jeremy Culver not only gives us a beautifully crafted film, but one that will make you leave the theater happier than when you entered.
The film stars Sam (George Blagden), a brilliant computer hacker who deems himself a sort of vigilante. Having served time for his hacking, Sam yearns to turn his life around and find some meaning. However, being barred from the internet and surveilled by his probation officer (Michael Beach) and an FBI investigator (Stelio Savante), Sam is unable to put his talents to good use. Similarly, Josie (Charleene Closshey), a widowed mother, feels trapped and helpless after the loss of her husband compounds with having to deal with her troubled daughter. When Sam begins stealing mail in hopes of profit, he finds a letter written by Josie to her dead husband and instantly falls in love with the stranger. Now with some meaning in his life, Sam attempts to not only change his ways, but make Josie his.
Now full disclosure, during the beginning scene of No Postage Necessary I was admittedly a bit concerned. The film starts with a typical news montage, which is a cliché nearly as old as film itself. I always find this to be a weak way of opening a film, as information is just thrown at the audience with little visual interest. Luckily, the visual editing here does allow for some interesting imagery rather than just a few talking heads monotonously relaying current events, so that’s a plus. Sadly, the film is full of tropes like this, the biggest being “the liar revealed”, which is the entirety of the plot itself. Any moviegoer will probably be able to figure out the entire plot right off the bat. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since the film is definitely more about the sequence of events and how characters get from start to finish rather than an “edge of your seat” sort of flick.
Luckily despite these tropes, the film has plenty of heart behind it to make it a heartfelt, sometimes funny experience. Being able to identify tropes within a movie doesn’t make the movie bad, just predictable. What’s important here are the characters and how they react to the situations that they are in.
The main character does an excellent job of making you want to relate to him while simultaneously wanting to punch him. He has this excellent sly smile that easily manipulates those around him, but he still does some bad, sometimes really creepy, things. He actually begins to stalk Josie, which despite the whimsical music, is really really weird. However, he is presented as being in the wrong as opposed to just shrugging this behavior off as “romance”. This tonal dissonance is played of as more purposeful than not, so this isn’t something I say is too problematic.
Josie is by far the most relatable character, and this is largely because of Charleene Closshey’s stellar performance. You can really tell she is struggling and lost in almost every scene she’s in. She really feels like a single mother trying to get by. In many ways, this film is really hers rather than Sam’s.
Personally, I found Sam’s co-worker and accomplice, Stanley (Robbie Kay), to be the most interesting character. Any time I chuckled was because of this character. The hypocritical Bible-loving hacker offers fun bits of dialogue throughout and his religious quirk is reincorporated beautifully.
The choice to use film was a fantastic one. There is this unquestionably unique look that only film can accomplish, and No Postage Necessary looks and feels warm and inviting from start to finish.
The themes of redemption and change are the main discussion points of the film. Both of these ideas are easily relatable and easy for audiences to grasp. No Postage Necessary is a lot of fun even though you can probably guess how everything will end, and that’s a testament to the great acting and directing. When given the chance to see this film, don’t pass up the opportunity!
Featured image from nopostagefilm.com
No Postage Necessary
'No Postage Necessary' looks great and offers a feel-good experience. While there are some overused character tropes, the character interactions effectively make up for it.
Emily is a Telecommunications (Film and Media Studies) major minoring in Japanese and Professional Writing in Emerging Media. Her review Netflix’s ‘Death Note’ grossly misunderstands why the original was a success and her feature article Studying Abroad in Japan: The weebs are wrong won honorable mentions in the CSPA journalism awards categories for Entertainment Reviews and First Person Experiences. She is the 2018-2019 host for the Input 2 podcast. In the past, Emily has interned at WFYI Indianapolis as a Production Intern and studied abroad in Japan.