Film Review

MIGUEL SAPOCHNIK’S REPO MEN — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Repo Men is a sneaky, cheerfully violent, and occasionally kinky sci-fi flick that totally bombed in theaters for no good reason other than piss-poor marketing and zero confidence from the distributing studio. Why make movies if you don’t have any faith in the material?! Centering on a future world where artificial limbs and fresh internal organs can be purchased via credit, this is a gory, nasty, extremely funny movie that flirts with disreputability at almost every turn, featuring an anti-hero for a protagonist, and all sorts of colorful baddies lurking around every corner. The kicker of the plot: What if the amoral repo man tasked with taking back, by any means necessary, the body parts his clients can’t pay for, all of a sudden became a victim of his own profession? The third act twist is trippy and unexpected and awesome, Jude Law was superb in a very forceful and physical performance, and overall, the material feels decidedly fresh and unique and creative. I’m a big fan of when a film mixes tones, and this B-movie with A-production values does that often.

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Original novelist Eric Garcia was given the opportunity to adapt his own work for the screen with co-scripter Garrett Lerner, and while helmer Miguel Sapochnik certainly demonstrated an extremely strong sense of cinematic style, he’s been in feature director’s jail for the last few years, instead turning to high-profile television direction. It’s a shame, because this film has distinct personality and lots of nifty special effects that served the story, rather than dominating it. I have a feeling that Paul Verhoeven would absolutely LOVE this film, as Repo Men carries a casual cruel streak and a layer of social satire that makes the proceedings all the more robust. The solid supporting cast features Forest Whitaker as Law’s totally badass partner in crime, Liev Schreiber at his smarmiest as their morally bankrupt boss, Alice Braga as Law’s love interest, Carice van Houten, John Leguizamo, and RZA. The vibrant yet gritty cinematography by Enrique Chediak is a major highlight, as is the crisp editing by Richard Francis-Bruce. Shot for a reported $32 million, this film looks three times as expensive. The unrated version features even more badassery.

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