Going Postal is one more chapter in the history and strange goings on that occur in Terry Pratchett’s mythical city of Ankh-Morpork. Though this one doesn’t feature Death as a character (my favorite by far), it does manage to tell a fun story that entertains. The movie shows up under the kids’ queue on Netflix, but it’s more complicated than being just another kids’ movie and at times it can even be quite dark.
It follows the tale of a con-artist by the name of Moist Von Lipwig. After living the majority of his life ripping people off and drinking most of his ill-gotten earnings away, the law finally catches up with him. He is sentenced to hang although a last minute reprieve gives him a chance to save his own life - by becoming the Postmaster General of the Ankh-Morpork Postal System. At this time, the post has gone under, replaced by a system called Clacks that uses lights to transmit messages, similar in theory to our own world’s telegraph. It’s up to Lipwig to get the post running again, but there is a curse associated with his position and most of his predecessors have met a grisly end.
Lipwig’s first line of defense is to simply run. Unfortunately for him, a “parole officer” golem by the name of Pump is assigned to make sure he goes nowhere. Luckily for him, the golem is also there to protect his life. So Lipwig attempts to do his job, all the while looking for a way to escape when the time comes.
As he performs his duties, he is assaulted in his dreams by the strange spirits that haunt the post office. These spirits give him visions that show the repercussions of all the bad things he’s done. The results of his swindling people have ended in many deaths and he now begins to realize all the pain he’s been responsible for. Slowly, Lipwig begins to change his ways.
The chief bad guy is Reacher Gilt, the owner of the Clacks system. Being a shrewd businessman with no morals, he attempts to undermine Lipwig’s struggle and leaves a trail of bodies along the way. Meanwhile, Lipwig finds an unlikely ally in Adora Dearheart, the daughter of the inventor of Clacks. To make things complicated, the elder Dearheart also happened to be a victim of one of Lipwig’s cons and the slowly reforming postmaster finds out that he is the cause of all the troubles that Adora has undergone.
Going Postal is a sort of classic good versus evil tale with a redemption theme. What makes it so entertaining is the many elements that Pratchett manages to slip into the film, such as Lipwig’s invention of stamps and his underling’s accidental invention of the perforations to make them easy to tear apart. There are clever little things all throughout the film, if you have a bit of knowledge of the real-life development of the postal system. Whether a kid or just a fan of Pratchett’s books, Going Postal is definitely worth a watch.