Repo Men

Repo Men is set in the future where corporations rule and the public, well, some are doing ok, some not so hot as there seems to be a large amount of people that need new organs, which is never really explained (it turns out to not really matter anyway). Jude Law is Remy, a collection agent of sorts working for The Union which sells artificial organs to people for large amounts of money (over $600K for a liver). Most people can’t afford the upfront fee so the Union happily sets their customers up with a payment plan. And just like a bank will come to recollect on a car loan that’s defaulted, so will the Union, which is where Jude Law comes in…

Law and his partner (Forest Whitaker) are assigned the task of collecting organs which is typically done by tranquilizing the customer, reading them their rights and then cutting them open right there and then and taking said organ. The movie doesn’t pull any punches on the gory details which lends to the brutality of the process. There’s even a scene in the film where one of the customers is harvested during a backyard bar-b-cue at Remy’s house with his family. The customers for the most part can’t afford the organs but take them anyway because it’s “what’s best for them and their family” as told by the head of sales at the Union played by Liev Schreiber. As a result, large communities of people have formed and have fallen victim to raids where large groups of them are murdered to reclaim their organs. The public itself has adapted to this new lifestyle and even does a lot of underground surgery for those that can’t sign up for the organs through the Union. There’s one particular scene where a 9 year old girl says “yay!” after successfully removing an artificial knee cap.

The story is largely based around the friendship of the partners and the estrangement between Law and his wife and son. Much of the controversy stems from an incident where Law has to get an artificial heart and the tables get turned on his character. There’s a pretty big twist in here with regards to these relationships that I won’t spoil for you, but suffice it to say that it took the movie up a few notches for me as it could’ve been kind of an average flick of this kind but was elevated by this unseen left turn. It’s nice to see a film veer off the typical formulaic path so many films follow these days.The movie is directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who does a great job bringing this well written script to life with a stylish, slick (and very corporate) picture of the future. He also does a good job making this film feel like it is set in the future, but not too distant at the same time. With the health care debate firmly in front of us, the theme is timely and makes you fear a little where things could go.

The actors all turn in fine performances which in addition to Jude Law, Forest Whitaker and Liev Schrieber includes Alice Braga and RZA from the legendary Wu Tang Clan (bong! bong!).
You don’t necessarily need to see this one on the big screen to enjoy it as it’s cool visually just not mind blowing, but I would recommend making sure you get a chance to check it out (as long as you don’t have a weak stomach that is).

reviewed by Sean McKnight