Being summarily clobbered by movie-goers and critics alike, REPO MEN will obviously not be for everyone. But it will be a great movie for the right person, and I was obviously one of those "right" people.
So who is this movie directed at and why? Well, it's a combination of a smart espionage thriller in a science fiction setting, with a little comedy thrown in for good measure. This might sound like a recipe for disaster, but it is anything but. But is it right for you? That's a tough call. If you're in the medical field and are concerned about healthcare insurance, it will definitely pique your interest. If you enjoyed such films as Kill Bill and Bringing Out the Dead, this will be right up your alley.
So why did I rate the film so high? Let's look at it for a minute...
It's topical without being "in your face." It never tells you to believe that private insurance carriers are "bad" and simply shows us a ridiculous possible future where organs are built in factories and everyone who needs a pancreas, a liver, an ear, or whatever, can get one ...for a price. The Union is run by an unscrupulous business man named Frank (Liev Schreiber, Defiance). He's basically a used car salesman trying to get you to sign on the dotted line for organs you desperately need. But make sure you don't miss any payments after you've gotten your new kidney. Why? Because if you don't pay the exorbitant prices and interest rates, your organ will be repossessed. Oh yes, even if it's your heart. How will you survive without it? You won't.
Remy (Jude Law, Closer) and Jake (Forest Whitaker, Where the Wild Things Are) are two of these Repo Men and they're very good at their jobs. With surgical precision, they can track and excise overdue organ owners with gory efficiency. But when Remy is forced to get a new heart and begins falling behind on payments, he begins to see the other side of his previous life.
This sounds like a pretty straightforward premise. A sort of Darth Vader understanding where his son was coming from plot. And that is only partially true. Jude Law does an excellent job playing a tough-guy with absolutely no conscious about ending a person's life if their delinquent on their bill. He is absolutely believable as a disconnected man only interested in money and being a great contract employee for The Union. This is seen early on when we witness him retrieving a liver in a rapid manner, making a beautiful incision and ripping the organ out. He heads to the previous owner's sink, rinses it off, packs it up, and heads out while stepping over the now probably lifeless man. Impressive. The gore is essential here to show the audience exactly HOW disconnected Remy is from humanity.
Jake, his partner, is even further gone than Remy. He enjoys his job so much that he's willing to do anything to anyone in order to ensure he and Remy can keep working together.
In the midst of Remy's life is a relationship that's falling apart and a son who is the only thing that keeps him remotely grounded. But when Remy suddenly needs a heart replacement, things rapidly change. You can see the wheels spinning in the back of his head after he returns to work. Would a Repo Man come after him if he failed to pay? What does it mean to have a piece of metal in his chest where his heart used to be? Does this make him less human? Or, in some bizarre way, does it make him more human? These are questions that are left up to the audience to decide.
The ending was telegraphed just enough to give it a fun twist without coming out of the blue. I kind of picked up on it after a significant fight sequence, and you might to if you pay attention. It is enough of an "a-ha!" moment that'll make some film watchers gasp.
With the current, raw, political climate I think this film was excellently timed to hit the big screen. Think about where our healthcare is going and who you want to control it, and this film will cut into you, too.