Every mediocre indie movie needs some kind of hook, and the middling romantic drama “No Postage Necessary” has one in its unique distribution model: It claims to be the first film to be released via blockchain, which is something to do with the internet and cryptocurrency. Any explanation beyond that escapes me.
Directed by Jeremy Culver, who co-wrote with Morgen Culver, “No Postage Necessary” follows the journey of a convicted criminal computer hacker as he tries to do right. Watched over by his probation officer, working as a mailman and at an ice cream stand, Sam (George Blagden) gets his kicks committing mail fraud, stealing cash from envelopes. When he opens an envelope addressed to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, he’s taken in by the story of single mom Josie (Charleene Closshey), the widow of a Marine, who writes letters to her deceased husband.
Using her purloined letters, Sam decides to woo Josie and stop most of his scamming, lying and cheating (but not all). It’s the age-old story of a bad guy doing creepy things to date a woman, and yet, he’s presented as the good guy. It doesn’t track at all, and Culver can’t pull it off. Sam comes off as pretentious and manipulative, and we root for Josie just to get away from him.
Techie buzzwords like “hacking” and “bitcoins” fly, but it’s all just for show. It’s not about the tech, despite a convoluted subplot with an FBI agent in pursuit. The real story is of Sam and Josie, but uneasy romance is misguided to be sure.
‘No Postage Necessary’
Rated: PG-13, for some suggestive material.
Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes
Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica; also available VOD and via blockchain Tuesday