Postcards from London is a new indie drama from director Steve McLean and starring Harris (Beach Rats, The Darkest Minds). It is about a young man from the English countryside that moves to London, where he becomes a male escort that specializes in post-coital conversation.
This film obviously wants to be far better than it actually is. There is a lot of potential in the premise, but the execution is so flawed that the movie is severely disappointing and feels like an almost complete waste of the talent involved.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the film is its overwhelmingly dream-like nature. Every moment of the movie is surreal and trippy, and as such, none of it is believable. This becomes particularly problematic when the film is attempting to establish realistic emotions and characters. Even the scenes that are the most logical still don’t feel real.
Additionally, the movie thinks that it is “smart” because of the many allusions it contains to fine art, although that is far from the case. The film only contains the most basic, Wikipedia-level facts about artists and their work. This does nothing but make it seem pretentious and out-of-touch.
Furthermore, the movie lacks clarity. For example, a significant plot point involves a mysterious psychological illness. There are so many questions about this illness left unanswered. What causes this illness? Is it curable? Does it have a name? This is only one example of a frustratingly ambiguous plot point that distracts from the film’s intentions.
The narrative as a whole feels disjointed, too. There are multiple times in which the movie seems to jump from one point in the protagonist’s arc to another without the necessary development in between. As such, it is less of a cohesive arc and more like a series of line segments that roughly arrange into the shape of an arc. Because of this, the story feels unsatisfyingly incomplete.
On one hand, the film’s neon-soaked color palette is gorgeous. On the other hand, it is largely ineffective because it is used so excessively. Visually, the movie goes beyond feeling surreal into feeling outright artificial. The editing is very rough too. There are quite a few cuts that were not smooth. There are also multiple swipe transitions and iris effects that look out-of-place.
Overall, Postcards from London is a largely disappointing film. It had a lot of potential, but got too caught up in fantasy to deliver anything resembling a logical or satisfying story.
Postcards from London is now playing in select theaters.