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Repo Men

Entry updated 10 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (2010). Universal Pictures in association with Relativity Media presents a Stuber Pictures production in association with Dentsu. Directed by Miguel Sapochnik. Written by Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner, based on The Repossession Mambo (2009) by Garcia. Cast includes Alice Braga, Jude Law, Liev Schreiber and Forest Whitaker. Original release version 111 minutes; extended DVD version 119 minutes. Colour.

A surgical bounty hunter (Law, somewhat miscast) makes his living by repossessing artificial organs leased by their manufacturer when the recipients fall behind on repayments, but is forced to go on the run after a job goes bad and he himself becomes the recipient of an artificial heart he cannot pay for. Unrelated to Alex Cox's Repo Man (1984) – except to the extent that Universal owned the rights to Cox's film and objected to his evocation of the title in his own low-budget Repo Chick (2010) – this begins as a formulaic Dystopian action thriller: boy works for the man, boy gets shafted by the man, boy meets girl, boy goes on the run with girl, boy and girl stick it to the man. But the film goes in an unexpected direction when the hero decides midway to get his revenge by writing his story up as a book, The Repossession Mambo (which remained the title of the film until shortly before release); while mysterious passing references to a new Virtual Reality technology raise the suspicion that some or all of this may be less solidly grounded than it seems. Rugs are duly pulled, after a lot more running and gore, and the film ends with what may generously be considered a homage to Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Garcia's book is effectively a novelization; the rights were sold from an outline and the screenplay completed first. [NL]


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