Published Mar 18, 2010At this point, considering how ubiquitous the theme, portraying a dystopian future where evil corporations exploit human lives for money doesn't so much demonstrate the intended prescience, but falls into the genre status quo while trying to buck just that. To an extent, director Miguel Sapochnik is aware of this, taking his mercenary organ repossession actioner and deliberately playing with, and mocking, audience expectations in an effort to shake things up and alert us to a seemingly ignored, or inevitable, plight.
Self-consciously wallowing in familiarity, work partners and lifelong ersatz boyfriends Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whitaker) gleefully repossess artificial organs from those behind on payments, slicing and dicing human flesh in any locale. Feared by the public and drunk on power, they make a game of their profession, suffering no ethical quandary while ostensibly murdering citizens for money. That is, until Remy needs a replacement heart.
This overly protracted setup drones on with little inspiration, treated with necessity rather than passion, outside of a deliberate tonal shift from the comedy of gratuitous surgeries and hyper-realized chases to sobering reflection once Remy sees his targets as human beings. Despite cleverly playing on perspective, giving a little more dimension to the best-friends-on-opposite-sides-of-the-law angle, these stylistic whimsies hinder pacing, leaving the first hour of Repo Men to drag.
Of course, once Jude Law fails to pay his bills, and goes on the run with a similarly afflicted love interest, in the form of Alice Braga, things pick up and trail off into absurdist fantasy. They also take great pleasure in grisly violence, with heads getting bashed in, throats being sliced and hacksaws making appearances in mid-combat. It all culminates in one of the most creative and disturbing sexual allegories to be seen outside of a Cronenberg film, with eroticized cavity penetration and a new spin on the term "fisting."
It is perhaps this latter chaos that will appeal to most audience members, whose id impulses will surely be fulfilled vicariously. While fleeting, the climax partially makes up for a sluggish and mostly forgettable film, even if it's deliberately patronizing. (Universal)