Film Review - REPO MEN (2010)
Screenplay by Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner
Based on the novel The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
When that great, all-encompassing History of the Cinema is written someday in the far future, Repo Men's best hope at achieving anything greater than asterisk status probably hinges upon the unusual synchronicity of its opening date, occurring as it has on the very weekend that the US Congress passed the most comprehensive health reform legislation in many a generation. To the dismay of many progressives - myself included - that legislation did not contain a public option designed primarily to contain costs. Had Repo Men been a more effective film, it could have served as an argument for the necessity of such an option, or at the very least, a broadside against the notion of allowing the private sector to provide health care because, by cracky, everything would just be ever so much better if only that gosh-darn gummermint would get out the way. In Repo's future, corporations produce million dollar "forgs" - artificial hearts and mechanized livers, paid for on the installment plan, and if you can't make the payments (and most can't) ...let's just say that the repossession takes the term "invasive procedure" to a new extreme.
But movies aren't at their best while preaching, and neither are film critics, for that matter.
But soon we get sequences of family life played with a sullen earnestness, Marco Beltrami's score dripping with sonority. Have we shifted from satire to domestic drama? And what about later, as bullets fly and knives are drawn? Action thriller? The dialogue is leaden and perfunctory, offering nary a clue. Hey, Movie - pick a vision and run with it, ok? This spastic shifting of tone may be manageable in the hands of an experienced helmer, but under the neophyte guidance of director Sapochnik, it plays like Wisconsin weather. Wait five minutes, and...
There's hope for some sorting out at the half-hour point, when Law has an on-the-job accident that renders him a client, complete with seven figures worth of
And yet...there are moments. The scene of a nine-year old girl adept at forg maintenance gives us a taste of what Repo Men could have been with a dollop of mordant wit, or if its creators had given a pensive moment to consider some of its glaring plotholes (The Union manages to keep the unpleasant nature of its collection practices a secret while there are veritable Hoovervilles of the destitute and delinquent? Really?). I had hoped that the casting of Law was hinting at Brit acidity in store, reminiscent of
* - Are you like me? Do love the Movies? Then read this eye-opening post from Todd Miro's blog Into the Abyss, about the predominance of the hideous "teal and orange" color scheme that has infected movie-making like a mutant strain of penicillin-resistant syphilis. Repo Men is yet another victim of this insidious disease, which shows no sign of abating anytime soon. Lord almighty, whatever happened to Technicolor?