The world of a New York detective, Jacob Kanon, (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is destroyed when his daughter and son-in-law are brutally murdered in London. Unable to sit idly by and do nothing, Jacob travels to London to get the answers he needs. As he learns of similar heinous murders happening across Europe – each preceded by a postcard sent to a local journalist – Jacob is in a race against time to stop the killings and find justice for his little girl.
Going into The Postcard Killings, my expectations were not too high. It isn’t because I thought the cast was weak or anything like that – in fact, the complete opposite can be said. One of the most underrated actors of this generation, in my opinion, is Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
As Negan in the hit AMC post-apocalyptic horror television series The Walking Dead, Morgan brings an incredible sense of fear and intimidation to the role and has since grown to be a fan favorite character over the course of about four years now. Plus, while his appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was short, it was welcomed.
In addition, I also feel as if Famke Janssen is an underrated actress and I hope that she gets more recognition soon. Unfortunately, The Postcard Killings is definitely not the movie that is going to put respect on her name. While the acting is respectable and good for the most part, this is a film that ultimately falls flat on an array of levels.
One of the biggest reasons as to why this movie doesn’t work is thanks to the screenplay by Liza Marklund and Andrew Stern. Strangely enough, the film oftentimes feels like a simplistic drama rather than the gripping thriller that it promised. Large time periods go by where you start to realize that nothing has happened to develop the storyline or progress it along in any way.
It’s not like it’s painful to watch or anything like that, but rather, it’s one of those movies where you can’t help but see what they should have changed to make it a significantly better movie. All in all, it’s a drastically generic and by-the-book thriller that is not only relatively predictable but just flat-out boring to watch at times. So many scenes are completely devoid of suspense and tension, where those two key elements were supposed to be present in. Everything feels incredibly dry and mishandled. The screenplay as a whole just didn’t work and had such a hard time telling this story in a unique and exciting way.
But if there is something to praise here, it is the performances. Jeffrey Dean Morgan does an excellent job of portraying a detective that is at the end of his line. He feels like investigating this case is the only thing that he is capable of doing. He won’t rest until he solves the case. It was truly relieving to see the screenplay actually do a good job of fleshing out his character in a way that was immensely impressive and it was boosted due to Morgan’s raw performance.
Furthermore, Famke Janssen does a great job in the role of Valerie Kanon, as does Naomi Battrick in the role of Sylvia. They all have pivotal roles in the story, and while the movie as a whole wasn’t worthy of their talents, it was delightful to see how well the characters, in general, were handled. They all got fleshed out quite well and it was by far the strongest aspect of the film.
So while the film is definitely respectably well acted and great in a character and even cinematography aspect, this was nevertheless a deeply underwhelming thriller that doesn’t quite hit the mark.
The Postcard Killings offers a great cast that gives their all, but the story is too generic and uninteresting to make this thriller worth seeing.
Overall Grade: C-
MPAA Rating: N/A
Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Famke Janssen, Naomi Battrick, Ruairi O’Connor, Joachim Król, Eva Röse, Lukas Loughran, Steven Mackintosh, Dylan Devonald Smith, Sallie Harmsen, Pål Espen Kilstad, Orla O’Rourke, Christopher Pizzey, Tim Ahern
Directed by: Danis Tanovic
Distributed by: RLJE Films
Release Date: March 13, 2020
Running Time: 104 minutes