Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Repo Men

directed by Miguel Sapochnik

Repo Men poster  
Imagine a near-future society where legalised corporate murder is the norm. This is the world of the Repo Men, who are authorised to repossess the organs of people who default on their repayments, with bloody and often fatal consequences.

Remy (Jude Law) is one of the best and most ruthless Repo Men. With his partner Jake (Forest Whitaker) he repossesses hundreds of organs, ruining lives and striking terror into the hearts of debtors. For him it's just a job, a way to pay the bills. But everything changes when a job goes wrong and he ends up with an expensive new organ of his own.

Remy can't make as much money as he usually does whilst he's convalescing, and as his repayment deadline approaches he realises that the only way he can afford to pay is by going back to his brutal trade. But now the situation is reversed he finds he's lost his appetite for it. He faces a choice between suppressing his new-found disgust for his work or going on the run. And if it comes to it will Jake accept the contract on his former partner?

Repo Men starts out with all the grit and gore of a splattery action movie out primarily for shocks. At first it threatens to be a shallow bloodbath. But Eric Garcia and Garret Lerner's script is subtler than it appears at first glance. It's a bit like Remy himself, who turns out to have a thoughtful side. The movie opens with a reference to Schroedinger's cat, and surprisingly this turns out to be an important point they're making rather than a desperate stab at making the film seem intelligent. There's also a lot going on in the background. Sinister advertising and subtle clues about the true state of affairs are there if you're willing to pay close attention. There are plenty of reasons to hit rewind, and the characters are good enough to make repeated viewings enjoyable.

Liev Schreiber is great as the Repo Men's pushy, greedy boss, always ready with his slick patter no matter how inappropriate the moment may seem. Alice Braga is compelling as the resourceful Beth, whilst Forest Whitaker's jocular killer keeps us guessing about exactly how much humanity he has left. Although Repo Men isn't a comedy there are nevertheless some brilliantly subtle sparks of humour, such as the scene when Remy is faced with fulfilling a contract on one of his favourite musicians.

Darkly comic, slickly plotted and action-packed, this is a smart satire on the sometimes stark choice between having a conscience and collecting a paycheck.

9th September 2010

Film Details

Year: 2010

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 18

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Review © Ros Jackson