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Friday
Mar192010

Repo Men

There's something avant-garde about Repo Men. It's not experimental or even particularly unique (Repo! The Genetic Opera tackled the same subject matter back in 2008), but it pushes the boundaries in that it's one of the only movies to gross me out to the point where I wanted to look away from the screen. It's like a disgusting, bloody My Winnipeg.

Set sometime in the near future, when Fast and the Furious X is about to be released, a company called The Union has emerged offering artificial organs to those in need of them. They can easily be bought with credit, yet the payments are so high that most who buy them cannot afford them. After a period of non-payments, a repo man is sent to take the organ back, thus killing the person in the process. Remy (Jude Law) is the best repo man in the business, but after a faulty defibrillator backfires on him, he is forced to sign his own contract on an artificial heart. However, he begins to realize that what he is doing is wrong and refuses to harvest any more organs. Without a job and no money flowing in, he begins to fall behind on his payments and is forced to go on the run with fellow artificial organ owner Beth (Alice Braga) while his former partner Jake (Forest Whitaker) hunts him down.

Repo Men is a movie that, as bloody as it is, seems like it wants to make a point. Similar to how last year's Saw VI made a statement on health care, Repo Men attempts to say something about financial corporations, loans and the debt they're practically forcing upon people, but it doesn't quite come through.

Part of the reason is because the film is as silly as they come. Although it does have a few tonal problems, making strange transitions from comedy to seriousness, the laughs always overpower its otherwise morbid spirit. While the more dramatic scenes, like one where Remy finds himself standing in the middle of a wasteland of dead bodies, don't work, the rest do in a sort of B-movie way. Nobody will sit through this and claim it as quality work, but many will still walk out with a strange appreciation for it.

On the other hand, many will find it revolting and end up hating it. It's a justifiable reaction because Repo Men is beyond violent. With so many scenes featuring repo men cutting into flesh and removing their victim's innards, it can, at times, be hard to find pleasure in it. In fact, I found none in the first act of the movie. Before Remy has his accident, you follow him and Jake around as they mercilessly kill the poor and innocent, never taking into account that their victims could be fathers, sons or brothers. But as the film goes on, the characters take a redemptive path and begin to right their wrongs. Sure, it doesn't quite make up for the assumable thousands of murders before it, but hey, nobody's perfect.

There's nothing to gather from Repo Men. There's no clear message. There's barely a story. There isn't any real reason for it to exist. It's incredibly stupid and the ending is a giant cop out, but I must admit, I had a good deal of fun with it. It may not be for everybody, but for me, it's the biggest guilty pleasure of 2010.

Repo Men receives 3/5