Film review: Repo Men

posted at 11:00 am on March 21, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

In the future, the ill will be able to replace their failing organs with artificial body parts. They’d better not fall behind on their payments, however, or else Jude Law, Forest Whittaker, and a host of unsavory characters will come around not to break kneecaps but to repossess them.  Repo Men tells the story of what happens when a repo officer has to get a heart replacement, and suddenly discovers a soul.

Set in a dystopian future, the plot bears some resemblance to Logan’s Run, although told in a much grittier and more grisly manner.  Remy (Law) has few qualms about performing ad hoc surgeries on deadbeat clients for The Union, the company with an apparent monopoly on artificial organs and joints.  He and his partner, Jake (Whittaker), have worked together since their days in the military, and the only reason Remy may end the partnership is that his wife may leave him over his work.  Jake’s not happy about Remy’s dream to shift to sales and a quieter lifestyle, but all of that is forgotten when Remy’s heart gets damaged in a botched retrieval mission — and Remy suddenly finds that repossessing organs is difficult to do when you have your own “autoforgs,” as the devices are called in the film.  When Remy can’t pay, he goes on the run — and has to wonder whether Jake will betray him and collect his heart.

This plot has a a few large holes in it.  Without giving too much away, it’s rather difficult to believe that any company — no matter how unregulated — would bother sending people like Remy and Jake to retrieve by force what could simply be deactivated remotely, forcing the client to either die immediately or come back to them to get payments addressed again.  The business model hardly seems realistic, either, with astronomical price tags that hardly anyone could actually afford.  While much of the film portrays search missions to find deadbeat clients, today’s technology could allow The Union to use simple GPS tracking systems to pinpoint anyone at any time.

With that said, though, it’s still a worthy science-fiction morality play/cautionary tale in the tradition of Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, and so on.  (If that doesn’t move audiences, it still provides plenty of action.)  The underlying theme seems a little hostile in a subconscious way to the private medical device market, which is interesting given that market’s success in creating live-saving and life-enhancing devices at price points low enough for almost anyone to get replacement hips, knees, and so on, but there isn’t anything overtly political in it at all.  If it seems to start turning into a superhero movie at times, especially towards the end, stick with it; the ending has more than one surprise, and it will leave you with some interesting philosophical questions to ponder.

Law gives a good, credible performance as Remy, but Whittaker is a bit overwrought as Jake.  Alice Braga (niece of Sonia Braga) lends some grace as Beth, the drug-addicted singer that Remy rescues, but the real relationship in question in the film is that of Remy and Jake.  Liev Schreiber lends some gallows humor as a smarmy sales manager in a smaller but critical role.   The action is realistic and very bloody, as device repossessions are shown in graphic detail.   Repo Men moves at a good clip and remains both interesting and entertaining all the way through to its surprising conclusion.  Repo Men is a good, serviceable sci-fi film — not spectacularly great, perhaps not destined to be a classic, but worth a visit at the cinema.


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good to know
thanks

i got through half of hurt locker last night, but had to run out

it was pretty good. i hope the second half picks up

blatantblue on March 21, 2010 at 11:05 AM

It will look nice on my 42″ LCD with RiffTrax playing along, methinks.

alexwest on March 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Again I ask the question…. Why does any American support any portion of the MSM and or Hollywood. These two branches of the Progressive machine have brought more harm to the lives of the average American than could be described.

Why do we give our hard earned money to those who crap all over our freedom and liberty?

Keemo on March 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM

blatantblue on March 21, 2010 at 11:05 AM

It does, but I personally didn’t think overall it was as good as others here did.

changer1701 on March 21, 2010 at 11:10 AM

but Whittaker is a bit overwrought at Jake.

Ever see the Last King of Scotland or his appearance on The Shield. It appears that is the norm.

CWforFreedom on March 21, 2010 at 11:15 AM

changer1701 on March 21, 2010 at 11:10 AM

I was a bit underwhelmed by the first half. That little Iraqi kid was hysterical though, and I do believe Jeremy Renner did a great job with his acting.

Keemo on March 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Freedom of the dollar, and quite often, summer blockbusters in Hollywood are the films that portray America and the American military in a good light, i.e. Iron Man, Transformers, stuff like that.

Lions for Lambs, Rendition, et. al (all those left-wing flicks) ALWAYS flop at the box office.

blatantblue on March 21, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Keemo on March 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Keemo on March 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM

I also think that conservatives have to remain engaged on that front, in order to avoid ceding an entire art form to the Left. We could make the same argument about the MSM, too, but our retreat won’t weaken the Lefts’ influence; it will only let it go unchallenged.

Ed Morrissey on March 21, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Jude Law is saying in interviews the movie shows where privatized healthcare would lead. It’s just more socialist propaganda to help usher in Obama’s New America. Why is this clueless review even posted here?!

modifiedcontent on March 21, 2010 at 11:21 AM

modifiedcontent on March 21, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Law did not give the greatest review of Great Britain’s socialized system when I saw him interviewed. He did think that the doctors were better in that system than in their own private system. I imagine his opinions are born of his experience in GB not here.

CWforFreedom on March 21, 2010 at 11:27 AM

VOTE NO NOW OR THIS WILL BE A REALITY.

MSGTAS on March 21, 2010 at 11:28 AM

but Whittaker is a bit overwrought at Jake.
Ever see the Last King of Scotland or his appearance on The Shield. It appears that is the norm.

CWforFreedom on March 21, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Took the words right out of my mouth. And I always feel uncomfortable looking at him.

Now back to my regularly scheduled obsession – health bill…

CarolynM on March 21, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Ed Morrissey on March 21, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Agreed… I’m in a “starve the evil” mood… :-)

Keemo on March 21, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Why is this [expletive deleted] review even posted here?!
modifiedcontent on March 21, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Occam’s razor: Ed likes movies.

eeyore on March 21, 2010 at 11:32 AM

check out this list of upcoming leftist movies that we have to look forward to this year… plus a few for us righties…

consigliere5 on March 21, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Personally, my days of paying for anything that comes out of Hollywood (besides things done by known conservatives) is over. Kaput. Done…

Fuzzlenutter on March 21, 2010 at 11:48 AM

In 2006 there was a little known cult classic horror rock opera called Repo! then genetic opera. It’s about a dystopian future where organ failures where common, and a company called GeneCO sells replacement organs. If you don’t pay, then the repo man comes to repossess the organ.

So take that movie, remove the singing rock songs part (it was an opera after all and through in the typical guy who works for evil corporation thens crewed by sad evil corporations, and it seems you get repo men as a result;t

LordDaMan on March 21, 2010 at 11:49 AM

lame.

And BB, if you think THL is boring, well ,then…The wonder is all gone isn’t it?

daesleeper on March 21, 2010 at 11:50 AM

They’re welcome to my colostomy…

catmman on March 21, 2010 at 11:58 AM

I’ll go see this, it looks fun enough to waste ten bucks on and it reminds me of the Monty Python skit where the government guys arrive to harvest the organ donor’s liver even though he’s still alive.

Bishop on March 21, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Why does any American support any portion of the MSM and or Hollywood. These two branches of the Progressive machine have brought more harm to the lives of the average American than could be described.

Why do we give our hard earned money to those who crap all over our freedom and liberty?

Keemo on March 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM

If you want to go Galt, try this.

platypus on March 21, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Let me try that again.

platypus on March 21, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Wow. Jude Law is turning into Phil Collins-1985.

portlandon on March 21, 2010 at 12:09 PM

I saw the movie for free last night. A friend of mine works at a theater and got me in. I’m glad he did because the movie is not worth the 10 bucks to see the film. Its more of a rental.

but Whittaker is a bit overwrought at Jake.
Ever see the Last King of Scotland or his appearance on The Shield. It appears that is the norm.

CWforFreedom on March 21, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Forrest was perfect for his role in the Shield.

But every other movie he’s been in…he was not the right person for that character.

Conservative Samizdat on March 21, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Its funny how these writers always seem to neglect the cascade of fallen morals that would exist in such a society.

Clearly in this world, no one would have a problem with cloning. Even genetically modified cloned pig organs!

I agree the economic scenario seems daft.

Agrippa2k on March 21, 2010 at 12:22 PM

lame.
And BB, if you think THL is boring, well ,then…The wonder is all gone isn’t it?
daesleeper on March 21, 2010 at 11:50 AM

What’s that supposed to mean

blatantblue on March 21, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Ehh…

I can’t get past the part where Law’s character is injured on the job and has to pay for his own new heart.

jhffmn on March 21, 2010 at 1:05 PM

…..Whittaker is a bit overwrought as Jake.

Haven’t seen a movie yet with Forest Whitaker in a key role where he displayed any talent at all at acting. IMO, he overplays every single part as if intentionally trying to let his own personality interpret the script writer’s version of the character. The worst was Battlefield Earth, but I do admit to having given up on him and all his starring roles since about 2004.

KendraWilder on March 21, 2010 at 1:16 PM

In 2006 there was a little known cult classic horror rock opera called Repo! then genetic opera. It’s about a dystopian future where organ failures where common, and a company called GeneCO sells replacement organs. If you don’t pay, then the repo man comes to repossess the organ.

So take that movie, remove the singing rock songs part (it was an opera after all and through in the typical guy who works for evil corporation thens crewed by sad evil corporations, and it seems you get repo men as a result;t

LordDaMan on March 21, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Yes, you said what I was going to. This movie looks too stupid. More hollywood junk for the mind. Forest Whitaker always looks like he needs to take a crap.

fullogas on March 21, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Why do we give our hard earned money to those who crap all over our freedom and liberty?

Keemo on March 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Chill, dude. I wouldn’t exactly call The Blind Side or the Narnia movies or Up or Finding Nemo to be foisting Progressive values on us.

John the Libertarian on March 21, 2010 at 1:38 PM

According to IMdb.com, Alice Braga said, “I think it’s sad that the U.S., such a powerful country, has someone like Bush in power.” I think I’ll be skipping this movie.

Rip Ford on March 21, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Wow. That gives “stupid” a whole new meaning.

So is it supposed to be a comedy?

logis on March 21, 2010 at 2:38 PM

I saw this last night and for the first half I was entertained by the idea. Repo men… in the Goodfella’s sense “oh times are tough? f**k you, pay me”. But soon it turns into a typical “big bad corporation keeps the innocent masses financially oppressed”. You see, the people in this movie who get these artificial parts seem to have this notion that they are owed them. sound familiar?

by the end i was just kind of trying to enjoy this as a reverse Blade Runner. Still, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

thebrokenchair on March 21, 2010 at 2:44 PM

I will never see this film because when the younger people see it and hate it, it has to be really bad. Speaking of bad how about the new movie be a child rapist pervert? “Ghost Writer” is so bad and loathing of the US it makes me sick. It is obviously about Bush and takes place during the Iraq war. They refer to him as “The idiot in the White House and his Sec. of State is a black woman. The CIA is evil and kills anyone who has a different philosophy. This the Hollywood left at its worst. My only favorite line in the movie is when Brosnan, who is a conservative, tells McGregor, who is a flake, that the people who want to stop rendition of terrorist can have two lines at the airports of the world. One where the terrorist have been read their rights and put in jail and the other where they have been interrogated to the nth degree. Which line do you think the politically correct will put their children on? BTW Stupid Stupak has caved like we all knew he would. Ever hear of a liberal with convictions?

inspectorudy on March 21, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Again I ask the question…. Why does any American support any portion of the MSM and or Hollywood. These two branches of the Progressive machine have brought more harm to the lives of the average American than could be described.

Why do we give our hard earned money to those who crap all over our freedom and liberty?

Keemo on March 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM

I, for one, would never suggest torrent downloads or piracy to get a product. That would be wrong. :-|

Undermine and destroy. It’s what they’re doing to us.

Django on March 21, 2010 at 4:50 PM

John the Libertarian on March 21, 2010 at 1:38 PM

To each his own; dude…

Keemo on March 21, 2010 at 4:55 PM

They’re called “artiforgs,” Ed…as in “ARTIFicial ORGans.”

Dunno if anyone else caught that, but there you go. ;)

gryphon202 on March 21, 2010 at 6:03 PM

check out this for warnings against any annoying leftist content in new movies and dvds…

consigliere5 on March 22, 2010 at 8:22 PM