REPO MEN - 2010
Relativity Media, Mambo Film Productions, Stuber Productions, Universal Pictures
Rated: Canada: 18A / Ireland: 18 / Singapore: M18 / UK: 18 / USA: R
Alone in a high rise apartment or condo, a guy waits in the shadows, passing time. A couple fall into the room and into each other. They are oblivious of the guy and sink into each other's pleasure. Then the guy makes his presence known. He's from The Union and the man hoisting up his pants is way overdue on the payments for his Artificial Organ. The guy has come to repossess his "Artiforg". The man says he has the money and can make his payment right now.
"Sorry," says the guy. "That's not my department." Merry Mishaps occur.
The guy's name is Remy (Jude Law: eXistenZ, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, LEMONY SNICKET'S: A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, SHERLOCK HOLMES), he is a Repo man, and he does these kinds of jobs many times a night, taking the lives of people who cannot or will not pay, simply by tearing the life giving organ out of them. By law, Remy must read an open statement to these people prior to removing their organ, but he is not above skirting the law by knocking them out first, then reading their rights while they lay unconscious.
Remy is not a likable man. Still, he has a likable family, a wife and son, and does his best to take care of them. His wife Carol (Carice Van Houten: FROM TIME TO TIME), however, has nearly reached the end of putting up with such a vicious lifestyle: she's running out of ways to justify it to herself and their son Peter (Chandler Canterbury: KNOWING, AFTER.LIFE).
On the other hand, Remy's boss, Frank (Liev Schreiber: SCREAM [all], PHANTOMS, SPHERE, THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE , THE OMEN , X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE), couldn't be happier with Remy. Frank jokes, pals around, but there is a definite wall between the two men. With that detached form of reptilian salesman humor, Frank creates the dirty work, but he never does the dirty work. That's left to people like Remy and his best friend Jake (Forest Whitaker: SPECIES, BATTLEFIELD EARTH, PANIC ROOM, PHONE BOOTH).
Remy and Jake have a long history together dating back to their childhood. They fought in the war together, and now they're Repo Men for The Union. Except now Remy is starting to feel that Carol is right. He doesn't want to lose his wife and he definitely doesn't want to lose his son. Maybe he should try his hand at being a salesman?
"Bullshit!" says Jake and takes Remy to a bar where they can talk it out. Remy gets distracted by a singer in the bar (Alice Braga: I AM LEGEND, BLINDNESS) and Jake let's that ride.
Jake and Remy do a few jobs together and soon Remy is back on his feet about being a Repo Man and has a cook-out at his place for his co-workers. This chills Carol to the core, to hear Remy's friends talking THEIR kind of shop and she doesn't like their son Peter hearing about it. The only thing that could possibly be worse is if one of the Repo Men did a Repo right in their front yard. Then Jake does just that.
That's enough for Carol, who throws Remy and his friends out and demand that he make a decision. That's it then. Remy is going for that sales job. Just one more repo job and...
AND A NEW BODY DESIGNED TO CARRY ALL OF THIS HEAVY CRAP
Remy wakes up in the hospital. He's been in a coma for months. Seems the defibrillator he used to stop a credit jumper's artificial heart shorted on him. His real heart isn't going to last, and of course we know where that is going. Remy has a change of heart.
The good side of REPO MEN is how the action never let's up even while we are going through the process of learning to like this unlikable guy, Remy. Thanks to screenwriters Eric Garcia (Novel: ANONYMOUS REX) and Garrett Lerner (FREAKYLINKS [TV], ROSWELL, JOHN DOE [TV], Lerner also cut his teeth on medical thrillers by writing 14 episodes of HOUSE M.D.) we are not supposed to feel sorry for him because, Oh boo freaking hoo! Now HE knows how it feels. Instead, we learn to like him as he slowly discovers the man he could have been.
Remy was a man who based his morals on the letter of the law instead of on what he knew was right. As a Repo Man he purposefully blinded himself, even with Carol and Peter as his conscience, that a job was a job and he was doing his part to enforce the rules that make society function for all. We don't feel for Remy feeling sorry for himself, but for his gradual rediscovery of himself. He isn't just another person whose life is ticking down with every massive monthly payment. He lost his wife, his son, and now his heart. Only now does he just how empty his life is without them. What kept Remy level all of these years was knowing that, no matter what, he was supporting his family. Now that he doesn't have that, what's left?
As a human, his new heart has never been stronger, and with the money he brings in, he can afford his own payments like few can. But now he sees himself dead on the floor with every attempted Repo.
At this point you would think that you can pretty much figure out how the rest of this plays, right?
Because those idiot trailers they showed for this movie made us feel that we knew the whole thing. The movie trailers for REPO MEN played out like a synopsis including spoiling the ending when, according to the trailer, at the height of Remy's hell, he solves his problem by killing his own boss.
The trailers were awful and uncompelling, and they were also wrong.
In the hands of Director Miguel Sapochnik, REPO MEN is heavy fuel, hardcore charged, philosophical yet satirical, science fiction thriller. It moves, breathes, thinks, and lives on the edge of being a horror movie somewhere between three movie masterpieces of the 1980s that I'm reluctant to talk about. Their names would give the movie away. But if Monty Python had made a Horror Thriller movie, it would have been very close to this. And make no mistake, REPO MEN nods acknowledgement toward the Pythons.
REPO MEN leads you on an action packed chase into places you expect and into situations you never expect, but the wicked twist is what will separate the audience into the love it or hate it categories. Personally, the twist made sense and I loved it.
4 Shriek Girls.
copyright 2010 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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Other government or corporate movie murderers who have a sudden change of heart when it is THEIR freaking lives on the line.
E.C. McMullen Jr.
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