"Repo Men" Movie Review (2010)

3/23/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"Repo Men"

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, Written by Eric Garcia and Gerret Lerner, 111 minutes, Rated R

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"Repo Men," like so many science fiction films in this day and age, isn't particularly original. It takes pieces of "Blade Runner," "Minority Report," "Brazil," and oddly enough, "Repo! The Genetic Opera," jumbles them all together, and then plops in numerous action cliches to form its crazy, inconsistent whole. Where it does differ from a lot of modern science fiction films, though, is that it's actually pretty good.

The film takes place in the near future and follows Remy (Jude Law), a repo man for a pharmaceuticals corporation known as The Union who specialize in creating artificial organs for transplants. But like any business, they're in it more for the money than the people--they charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for their products and when their customers fall behind on their payments, they send in the repo men to take back their property. If you think the idea of your house or car getting repossessed is frightening, just imagine getting a knock on your door from someone who has come to take back your kidneys.

So, Remy and his partner Jake (Forest Whitaker) go around town performing their amateur surgeries, and they're good at their job. But Remy's wife, tired of Remy's late nights and rather amoral position in life, wants him to consider a change of career. But before he even gets the chance, a defibrilator goes bad one night and Remy takes a big shock. He wakes up a few days later, a bit beat up and equipped with a new artificial heart and monthly payments he can't begin to afford. It's not long before Remy realizes he's on the wrong side of the knife and sees the errors of his ways.

Based on the plot alone you'd think the film might be dead serious--a brutal cautionary tale about the dangers of the privatization of healthcare (and how appropriate in the current political climate)--but while it does have some smart things to say, it's actually more of a dark comedy than anything else, and it doesn't take itself that seriously. The film was originally called "Repossession Mambo," after all. Law and Whitaker are both hysterical and charismatic in their roles--you can especially tell that Whitaker is having a lot of fun with his performance--and they're joined by Liev Schreiber, who's consistently amusing as their boss, Frank. Even the most serious moments of the film are clearly to be taken with a grain of salt, and the film is pretty enjoyable once you realize it's not such a grim affair.

The direction is especially impressive. "Repo Men" is the feature debut of Miguel Sapochnik, but you'd never know it given how assured his direction is. As the "Mambo" in the film's original working title would suggest, the action (and even the more quiet moments, on occasion) move with a precise and fluid motion like a sophisticated dance, and the action combined with the music makes from some very impressive setpieces, especially one fight scene near the end that takes place in a hallway and seems to have been inspired by the epic one-shot fight sequence in "Oldboy."

Unfortunately, the film really starts to take a nosedive in the last third or so. The plot begins to drag quite a bit, the tone jumps around a bit too much, and the last few scenes in the film are really quite ridiculous, and it puts quite a damper on the film as a whole.

Overall, "Repo Men" could have been great, but it settles for decent. But for 90 minutes of solid, clever entertainment, that works for me.

Grade: C+

View the trailer for "Repo Men" below.  What are your thoughts?

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  1. Tom Graczkowski said...

    "But for 90 minutes of solid, clever entertainment, that works for me." Guess what? That works for me as well. ;)