Friday, 16 April 2010
REVIEW: Repo Men
The US health industry is in a state of capitalistic nihilism in which the dollar overrules patient care by in a way that is terrifyingly black and white. If you can't afford it you don't get it, simple as. As the tradition with semi-relevant action movies, this horror is re-appropriated and re-sized into something that can feature people getting killed in gory and brutal ways. It takes societal crumbling and turns it into some awesome entertainment. Repo Men isn't the dark satire of the health-care system it would like to be. In fact its a profoundly dumb movie, that often doesn't make sense, but it pretty much gets by on its loopy incoherent charm. I was entertained, but felt a little guilty for being so.
The story follows 'Repo Men' Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whitaker), whose job its basically is to repossess artificial organs from people who miss their monthly installments. Yes that is literally exactly like it sounds, they walk up to people and remove their organs then and there. They do politely offer to call an ambulance should the mutilee require it. So that's nice. But given that street surgery often results in death, its slightly redundant. The first half I definitely preferred, a demented if very uneven black comedy, finding hilariousness in the carnage and our two leads enjoying the shit out of what they do. Then the movie regrettably begins to take itself slightly more seriously once Jude Law meets a disposable girlfriend character ( played by Alice Braga, who seems to always play this unnecessary role). Still, its climax brings back the campy insanity and then some, featuring some barbaric, bloody action and what might be the first surgery/sex scene on film. They literally engage in foreplay whilst cutting each other open. Seriously.
Repo Men had a lot of interesting ideas and ambitions but executed the thing with the panache of a post Lord Of war Nicolas Cage performance. Still, I enjoyed much of the action, I bizarrely bought Jude Law as an action hero, and loved the shit out of Liev Schreiber's awesome company man. I think he understood the nature of the material the most. Whitaker takes it a bit seriously, but he takes everything seriously so that is to be expected. Utterly ridiculous, but in a way that's grotesquely charming. Awesome soundtrack too, and a bad movie to good music is a slightly better movie. So says I.