March 18, 2010

Repo Men

Just turn your head and cough

Grade: D +

Director: Miguel Sapochnik

Starring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga, and Liev Schreiber

MPAA Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

You might want to watch the closing credits for Repo Men to see whether Michael Moore is listed as a co-producer of this humdrum, futuristic action-thriller/black comedy/bloody revenge spectacle.

In this not-so-distant dystopia, a shadowy conglomerate named The Union has cornered the market on manufacturing and selling synthetic replacement human organs. The catch: prices can reach the high six figures and the interest rate soars north of 20 percent. Oh, and if you default on your payments, the title characters – nicknamed “landlords” – have the authority to repossess the organs, even if it means killing you.

That’s the predicate facing one adept repo man, Remy (Jude Law), after an on-the-job electrocution gives him both an artificial heart he cannot afford – apparently, in the future the workers’ compensation laws have also been repealed – and a crisis of conscience over his vocation. After Remy goes on the lam, his former partner (Forest Whitaker) is dispatched to foreclose on his erstwhile childhood buddy’s delinquent ticker.

It’s the perils of hyper-privatized medicine combined with the evils of predatory lending – get it? Beyond the dime-store agitprop, director Miguel Sapochnik never finds a correct or consistent tone. The end result is at best slapdash and silly, at worst ugly and unpleasant. I don’t know whether health care reform needs a public option, but one thing Repo Men does not deserve is a public showing.

Neil Morris

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