Posts Tagged ‘heart’

Repo Men. 2010. Directed By: Miguel Sapochnik


By Jonas Cukierman

Repo Men are Remy (Jude Law and Jake (Forrest Whitaker)
Jake is a flunky who found something he is good at. Remy is a robotic and icy
family man whose marriage is on the rocks because his wife is becoming
increasingly disturbed at what he does.

That is because Remy and Jake butcher people for a living.

For the first three months, there is a grace period for
non-payment. However, by the first few days of the fourth month, the Repo Men
come. But this is no car repossession, and this is not the bank foreclosing on
your house. If you’re behind on this payment, your heart goes. No, not from
having a coronary, nor from having it broken by a beautiful woman. Rather, it
is repossessed, as might your liver, kidney, or pancreas. This is because your
organ is artificial and manufactured by a company that doesn’t skimp on its
pennies. The Union is a cinematically proven model of a mega-corporation with its tendrils reaching out to every part of
society’s vulnerabilities. It has the power to make you sign on the dotted line
with barely a hard sell, and it never misses a beat because its product is
impossible to turn down, and be sure that The Union’s grasp is as impossible to
escape as the IRS.

For Remy and Jake, it helps to enjoy hurting people. Recruited from the military, the feared duo
walk the streets of the city while striking fear and panic into the faces of
everyone who knows their racket; and everybody knows them. Even the police
don’t dare mess with them. The Repo Men are polished, but nevertheless nothing
more than killers with the social reputation of bounty hunters. Moreover, like
bounty hunters, they are their own subculture of creeps who use any methods
necessary and stop at nothing to acquire their booty.

Then one night as Remy is on a routine job, he injures
himself while trying to “repo” the ticker of RZA (T-Bone).
They say rock stars are immortal, you had better believe it. Because in the end
it is Repo Remy who wakes up in the hospital under a strange state of affairs.
Circumstances that he has no idea are unfolding into the greatest blessing and
the vilest curse ever bestowed upon a man like him. Remy is suddenly faced with
a “bill” after having undergone a transplant himself. Rather ironic is that at one
time, Remy had a human heart, but no “heart” at all. Now with an artificial
implant, he has come to understand the importance of being human, and that the
lives he took at seeing to it that he feels the loathing of what it’s like to
live under the shadow of a ruthless corporation.

While his life has been saved by The Union, he must now
contend with the probability that he too will be stunned, tazed, and stabbed to
death (all in that order), and then be sliced open with quasi-surgical
precision in order to give another Repo Man the quarry.

Suddenly elements of Blade Runner , Total Recall,
Minority Report,
and especially Logan’s Run’s_Run_(film)
begin to fuse perfectly together into a visual effects spectacle to really gaze at.

Logan’s Run was a constant game of cat and mouse, whose
characters were not only bent on living, but were also out to inform others of
a completely different world if they could first win a battle against a
corporation with its own set of rules and its own private military to enforce
them. In Logan’s Run, those who tried to escape their obligatory death at age thirty were called
‘Runners’. They would be terminated by a legally sanctioned death squad called ‘Sandmen’. In this case, the similarities are striking because the organ recipients are the runners and the Repo Men are the Sandmen. But the film also
contains the building blocks of Orwellian
prose, and the story is different enough for Repo Men to stand very much on its
own and even bear further similarities to other films such like Star Wars as
Remy and Beth (Alice Braga),
a woman with rigged black market organs, run from laser fire delivered by
company shock troopers.

On a more metaphorical level, Repo Men might be a testimony
as to the direction our healthcare system is going. With costs rising, and
insurance companies non-committal, people have to resort to an installment
agreement with The Union, which cripples them even more than their ailing
bodies. Should this extreme situation occur, companies would no doubt
capitalize on the misery of the public, as they know there isn’t anyone who
would not pay exorbitant amounts of money to save a loved one.

The problem with being a Repo Man is not only the nature of the job, which lures the shady and the murderous. Rather, you have people like Jake, who are so enthusiastic and dedicated to their jobs, that they are more like Mafia enforcers, not men of integrity who
question what they do. Moreover, these mafia “thumb breakers” work for bosses
who are equally as scary. Much like Al Capone, Sam
Giancana, Michael Corleone,
or Tony Montana, Liev Schreiber flawlessly fills the role of Frank. A calculating Union exec and overlord who is an arch criminal, despite his
educated front and his Armani suits.

The Union itself is instantly reminiscent of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation,
aka “the company” from the Alien
series. Far too powerful, extremely opaque, and all too possible.

Be prepared to enjoy and be genuinely shocked by a film
whose action scenes are about 10% shooting, while the rest are gladiatorial
stabbing and slicing. This aspect alone makes the film far more interesting in
that it furthers the notion that when Repo Men fight, they are so skilled with
blades, that they would rather duke it out dirty because they enjoy cold steel
in lieu of the easy way out.

Repo Men will leave you pondering the question “is this bad
science, or poor corporate regulation?” And in case that’s not enough, there
remains yet another mechanical menace. While they haven’t built a Death Star, there is The Union’s newest
device, the M-5 Neural Net. But if I tell you any more, it will spoil the plot
and the ending. The good news is that the M-5 is on special. Installment plans
to fit your lifestyle and credit score begin at only 18% for the first year,
and 24% thereafter. However, you must hurry, as this is a limited time offer,
good only this month. Repo Men will not only make you ponder the issue of corporate ethics, it will also give
you a renewed hatred of high-pressure salesmen.

Read more about artificial organ transplantation: