Reading the Screen: Repo Men
Posted by: David Pitt
Well, I finally had a chance to see Repo Men, the movie based on Eric Garcia’s novel The Repossession Mambo. I talked about the book here, calling it “a gritty near-future thriller with comic overtones [and] a Blade Runnerish feel to it,” and the movie is exactly the same.
The performances by Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, and Liev Schreiber are excellent, and precisely what Garcia’s characters require. You don’t normally see this kind of movie with such a high-powered cast, but the actors give the story its dramatic weight, and a typical B-movie sci-fi cast might have rendered the movie insubstantial.
The production designer and cinematograper, David Sandefur and Enrique Chediak, do splendid work here. They make the movie dark, gloomy, grimy, broken-down, cluttered, and brutal. They take the images Garcia conjures up in his book and put them right there on the screen.
The story, about a couple of guys who repossess artificial organs from their delinquent owners, is bloody and graphic, and director Miguel Sapochnik doesn’t shy away from the gore. But he doesn’t lose the personal story, either, and the movie, like the book, is ultimately the story of a man who discovers his own humanity, and fights for his life to hang onto it.
If you haven’t seen Repo Men – most movie reviewers inexplicably trashed it — you really ought to. And if you haven’t read the book, either, now is the time.