“The Postman Always Rings Twice”: Film review

In David Mamet’s adaptation of the James M. Cain novel and remake of the 1946 movie, Jack Nicholson is convincing as the drifter Frank Chambers who falls for Jessica Lange’s powerfully played Cora Papadakis, wife of a roadside diner owner.
While Chambers is clearly disquieted by the plans he makes with Cora, it’s not clear whether he’s feeling a real moral quandary or simply anxious about being caught. For her part, Cora exhibits a burning desire for what she wants that crushes any sense of right and wrong.
“I’m tired of what’s right and wrong,” she tells a shocked Chambers, who, after reading her intentions in her eyes, replies “They hang people for that.”
As their decisions and their consequences pile up around them, they push ahead, trying to build some semblance of a normal life, yet the past is always close behind, and ultimately one wonders if the film’s message is not some idea of an unavoidable justice.
Watching this, it’s convenient to distance yourself from the deeds of the characters, but perhaps the true power of a film like this is that if you are really listening inside for that quiet still voice, perhaps somewhere in there you can hear your own past catching up to you, inexorable, inescapable, woven tight into the fabric of every future step you take.


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