by John Stoehr
Postal is about to open at the Terrace Theatre and from what I've heard, it promises depictions of violence are about a gratuitous as it gets. Which is fine. I don't mind violence. That is, I don't have an opinion about its relative merits. I don't really care for it, however, unless it leads somewhere. Unless it has some kind of purpose. The final scene of Rambo, in which the big guy obliterates everyone in the jungle with a gun the size of a howitzer, was the most violent movie I'd seen in a long time. But it was purposeful violence. It had a point. An emotional undergirding — Rambo was saving a bunch of candy-ass missionaries, among them a fetching blond graced with the power to sooth the savage beast (i.e., Rambo), from an army of genocidal psychopaths.
You be the judge about Postal (Boll was profiled in Sunday's Times), but I'm really interested in the upcoming performance by the Dutch theater troupe called Hotel Modern in which they create the War to End All Wars in miniature. They build small dioramas — with cardboard houses (above), stalks of parsley for trees, and toy soldiers (both below) — to recreate the horrors of trench warfare during the World War I. They do all this right before your eyes and then film it all and project onto a gigantic screen. So you have the feeling of being immersed into a cinematic world but also the feeling of watching the film being created. You are left walking the line between artifice and real life. While Rambo wants you to forget that you're watching a movie, The Great War doesn't want you to forget. I can't wait to see how this feels.