Thursday, March 18, 2010

Postmortem (1998)

After 1995 every producer wanted their own little piece of Se7en. I think that movie is fantastic, a masterpiece. But the weird thing is that I got more stuck to all the movies that was inspired by David Fincher's bleak serial killer-thriller. Russell Mulcahy's Resurrection (I've seen that movie countless times) and Mario Azzopardi's Bone Daddy (with Rutger Hauer in one of his best performances in years). One movie I've waiting to see again is Postmortem, Albert Pyun's thriller with Charlie (or Charles) Sheen solving some nasty murders in Glasgow, Scotland.

Charlie is James McGregor, an alcoholic ex-cop and bestseller author who's been spending the last months drinking himself more or less to death in Scotland. He starts getting weird faxes, but ignores them - until the body of a young woman is found in his garden. Of course he's suspected himself, but after a while he befriends the cops and works together with them to find the serial killer. Of course this is a controversial idea, and from the beginning the cops is very hostile to him, but soon they found that he's not such a bad guy anyway - just a bit grumpy - and let him in on the investigation.

And yes, that's about it. It's no other stories being told really, except McGregor trying to cope with his problems and the terrible crimes committed in their city. I thank the scriptwriters of that, for finally we have a serial killer thriller without any love stories and silly stuff like that. This is pure investigation, tough talk and some minor character development. Sheen is good as McGregor, but it's hard to seem him in such a serious and non-witty part at first. This was during a time he did a lot of smaller productions, and before his big career movie to replace Michael J. Fox in Spin City... and the rest his history.He did to really good movies during this period, Postmortem and The Chase (Rated X was good to, a movie I recommend). The script is generic, I can confess that, but still it holds the attention of the audience and has a lot of thrills and tension.

But what really holds up Postmortem is the direction by Pyun, the awesome score (is it released somewhere?) by Tony Riparetti and the gorgeous cinematography by George Mooradian. There's so much style and class in this movie that it's hard to believe it was shot in 11 days only. Pyun fully uses the fantastic scenery of Scotland and Glasgow, and there's BIG shots in this. From wonderful nature to gritty city locations. I like that small dialogue scene between Sheen and Michael Halsey with a big square behind them. Something so small and intimate in such a huge environment. What I understand the whole movie is more or less shot with steadycam, and it brings a smooth feeling to the storytelling and the movements is flawless. It has a very slick production value and it looks more expensive than it probably was. Pyun also manages to focus on the drama as well as the action, which gives us a very human movie - far from contrived and automatic.

Postmortem is a stylish movie that fully utilizes the 2:35.1 ratio. Because I wanted to see this movie in widescreen I had to go the illegal way, but after researching a little bit, it seem like the Swedish DVD is in the correct ratio. It's OOP though, but I will try to find it to make my collection even more flawless.


  1. Excellent review of one of the most underrated Pyun film, I would love to see the widescreen version!

  2. The french dvd offers this good Pyun flick (one of my favorites, maybe "THE" one) in 2:35 (16/9) to !

    1. Hi Does the french dvd of the Pyun film Postmortem have an english audio track?


  3. It seems to have been rleased in Germany , under the new title Serial Killer, i think its also widescreen.