National news programs constantly emphasis the down-trodden economy, focusing on heart wrenching stories about loss of jobs and foreclosed homes. Now imagine that the wrenching of the heart was the actual discussion of the news anchors. Cut to early morning traffic reports followed by a news report of another individual having their artificial organ repossessed.
Sounds bizarre and messy, but an idea presented in the not so distant future of the new action, sci-fi thriller Repo Men, where those in need of vital organs can simply put their new innards on layaway. However, if the newly equipped individual does not stay up on their payments then they get a surprise visit from the company’s specialists, the repo men.
The corporation at the head of this new industry is The Union, a hybrid of loan department and drive-thru organ transplant. In this dystopic future, citizens are encouraged to live their lives without any hesitation or need for moderation. If you’re an alcoholic, just wait and get a new liver. A smoker, saddle up for some new lungs. An extreme skier that needs new legs, no problem. The business model for The Union is ridiculously lucrative as well as all controlling over those who purchase a six-figure organ with the 19 percent interest rate.
To say that the underlying discussion is on health-care and the current economy is possible, but then we would be giving the film a point.
It’s a wham bam action flick. No wait, it’s a satire of our businesses. Strike that, it must be a serious discussion of society’s progress. It’s a meddling stew of this and more that stinks to high heaven. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are really great on screen and work well off each other, but their acting chops can’t alter the strange course set by the plot.
Law’s character, Remy, is the best repo man in The Union and his partner, Jake (Whitaker) are an unstoppable team until Remy has an emergency surgery resulting in not only an artificial heart, but a lofty payment. Once he is indebted to the company he helped build, Remy begins to question the social implications of his work. This sets off a struggle between Remy and Jake as partners, friends and human beings. Remy quickly transforms from predator to prey after he can no longer afford to pay for his new heart, forcing Jake to hunt down his longtime friend in order to reclaim the unpaid organ.
Although it is a great idea, the film just becomes comical when it should be no where near that territory. It’s obvious the filmmakers did what they could on their budget to present an interesting story, but unfortunately director Miguel Sapochnik’s Repo Men was under developed and laughable at many points.
The climatic scene alone might turn your stomach inside out. Don’t worry, in the future you can just get a new one.
Mirror Film Criticmark@smmirror.com