Bin Laden farce may skip Israel

In director Uwe Boll's satirical comedy, 'Postal,' the Soup Nazi of 'Seinfeld' plays the al-Qaida leader, but distributors here aren't biting yet.

By AMIR MIZROCH
August 14, 2007 07:58
3 minute read.
Bin Laden farce may skip Israel

bin laden bush 298.88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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A new comedy film by Vancouver-based German director Uwe Boll, whose opening scene shows two 9/11 hijackers changing their minds about flying a plane into the Twin Towers after a quick cellphone discussion with Osama bin Laden reveals they may be getting "perhaps only 10" virgins once they reach paradise, and not 100 as they were originally promised, opens in October in theaters across America, Canada and Germany. And although Postal, based on the PC game by the same name in which a postal worker embarks on a savage killing spree, has also been bought by a distributor in the United Arab Emirates, Israeli film distributors are nervous about buying the film for distribution and release here. Boll's distributor, Michael Grudman, says Israeli distributors are concerned that the film's overtly cynical depiction of Islamic Jihadists may set off negative reactions in the region once it becomes known that Israeli cinemas are showing the movie. Local distributors may also be wary of possible negative reactions by Israel's Arab minority. Israeli distributors would not comment while negotiations for the sale of the film were still ongoing. The film, a rather average psychedelic, slapstick political farce, portrays bumbling Jihadists, corrupt US government officials, cheating cult leaders and murderous cops, as players in tangentially-developing storyline whose ultimate goal, Boll tells The Jerusalem Post, is to parody the absurdity of current events, thus "de-brainwashing the audience." The film's loose plot centers around the comical sequence of events set off when a philandering cult leader needs to come up with $1.4 million to pay back the IRS, and hatches a plan to steal and sell profane "crotchy dolls" to kids (literally resembling genitalia). The cult leader's deputy, however, plans to insert avian flu into the dolls and perpetrate a terror attack to hasten the coming of the Messiah. Meanwhile, the Taliban are also in town, as the film spirals out of control and the body count mounts. Osama bin Laden is played by Larry Thomas, famous as the "Soup Nazi" in the sitcom Seinfeld. In Postal, bin Laden has a direct phone line to US President George W. Bush, and they conspire together to create havoc all over the world and collect the resulting insurance payouts. The film's hero, a pathetic, trailer-trash societal reject, is portrayed first as a law abiding, stand-up citizen who is pushed over the edge by corrupt society. He becomes a criminal, killer and anti-hero, perhaps a comment by the director (who also wrote the script) on the role frustration plays in the creation of terrorists. It is clear that Boll, who nourishes his "shock" director image, is trying to make a political point, but he does so with a not very serious film. "If I wanted to make a serious film about what's going on in the world right now, I wouldn't even know how to - everything is so absurd. Religious leaders are driven by lust. Osama bin Laden is trying to scare the planet, and the American Bible belt has produced a bumbling president," Boll says. Postal may run into other problems when it shows in the United States, as several American Muslim characters in the film provide a group of al Qaeda terrorists with shelter and support. "American Muslims may be on the same side as the terrorists. Even though they may not want to do it, tradition may force their hands," Boll says. Postal the game is among the more controversial titles to hit the market, as it is based on a real-world massacre in the US in which a disgruntled postal worker went insane in his workplace with a machine gun. In an interview with the Destructoid entertainment Web site, Boll says Postal is "a critique against our kind of self-censorship with regard to religion...we say [to Muslims and the Bible Belt] 'we understand, it's your religious freedom,' but all that supports tons of wrong stuff." The film also shows several scenes that may be construed as anti-Semitic, when a gun battle between police and al Qaeda romps through a German beer garden that has clear Nazi signs as well as offensive concentration camp placards. Boll says he may cut the Nazi references, placed in the movie "to get a reaction out of the German audience" if the movie were to be shown in Israel. Boll, 42, has made a name for himself by making B-grade films based on computer and video games. Postal is only his latest offering, after financial success in several other ventures, although many gaming purists revile Boll for making bad movies out of good video games.

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