Friday, March 19, 2010

Movie Review: Repo Men

Ahhhh haaaa, watching The Big Bang Theory while I could get in on free TV has finally paid off! The start of this weeks movie, Repo Men begins with the main character Remy, no, not the rat from Pixar's Ratatouille, but a man sitting down at an old fashioned typewriter writing about a concept called Shrodinger's Cat. While he didn't mention the concept by name, I knew what it was even though he explained it slightly differently. In TBBT Leonard says to Penny, you have to open the box to determine if the cat is dead or alive. Remy (Jude Law) says that while the box is closed the cat is both dead and alive. Two sides of the same situation. But because of TBBT I completely understood it, way to go Leonard!

Poor Remy. It's the future in a city like from Blade Runner. Tall buildings, lots of advertisements. Remy and his partner Jake (Forest Whitaker) work for a company called The Union. This company provides people with mechanical body replacement parts. Livers, lungs, knees, eyes, you name it The Union can provide it. The cost? LOTS and LOTS of money. A liver costs $672 thousand dollars or something like that. But the interest rates were reasonable, 18% the first month and then 24% thereafter. OH YEAH! That would mean a liver is a little more than the average cost of a home in Hawaii. Just like when you can't make your payments on a house or car a repo man is sent out to collect, The Union would send out repo men to collect the unpaid body part.

The repo process is bloody. The customer is stunned, the repo men take out their tool kit cutting into the body, removing the part, bagging and tagging it to be returned to inventory. I'm hoping they really clean and sterilized it well before returning it to stock. Prior to taking the part they do ask the customer if they want help after the procedure. Being unconscious they don't respond with the restocking fee being the customer's death. Remy and Jake are the top repo men for The Union and long time friends. Doesn't matter the location, time or circumstances, if payment is past due, you're fair game for collection. They are ruthless and uncaring. It's just a job.

Remy's wife is pressuring him to get out of the repo business. In talking to his boss Frank (Liev Schrieber) Remy can't bring himself to ask for a sales job. Remy has seen how the sales people use used car salesmen techniques in order to get patients to sign on the dotted line. He can't bring himself to move for the sake of his wife and son but after having his hand forced he decides to make the move much to the dismay of his long time friend Jake.

Remy heads to his last repo job and in a workplace accident ends up in the hospital needing a new heart himself. Remy realizes that he's in deep kim chee when he wakes up with large tubes coming out of his chest connected to a box on a shelf. Consequences of his actions cost him his relationship with his wife and son plus he now has property of The Union pumping blood through his body. Apparently he didn't get a discount on the mechanical heart for both an employee discount AND a workman's comp claim. Come on, loyal top notch employee and injured on the job, they should have cut the guy some slack. But Nooooo.

Relegated to a desk job he realizes that he's not cut out of the cloth of a sales person. He tries going back to repo but discovers that he no longer has the heart for it, pun intended, and without creating income he falls into the same boat as those that he dealt with. He's fallen behind in payments on his artificial heart and it must now be repossessed. And who do you think has to get it back? That's right, Jake, the long time friend. The only way to try to save himself is to get the repo claim removed from the records of The Union. He joins up with other people running from the repo men to try to get out from under.

Now it's very coincidental that this movie dealing with a bankrupt nation, high medical costs and for profit medical companies comes out on this weekend. The US Congress is running up bills for the United States pushing the country further into debt. The House of Representatives is about to vote on a bill that the President considers so important that he canceled flying overseas to meet with foreign leaders and dignitaries. Now the proposed laws won't go into effect for several years so even if the bill passes the House waiting a week to ten days isn't going to have a huge influence on the health care industry. The release date of the movie has been set for months and the votes looks to be happening this weekend. What are the odds.

So back to Schrodinger's cat. Unless you look inside you don't know if Remy is dead or alive but by not looking inside he's both dead and alive at the same time. As you watch the movie you wonder the same. Big business, ethics, friendship, relationships, and luck factor in to Remy's life. Will he be able to regain the relationship with him wife and son? Will The Union get back their equipment? Will Jake, his best friend end up killing him? You won't know until you look inside and you may be surprised as to what you find.

The movie is rated R due to the some sexuality/nudity, grizzly images, bloody violence and language. You'll get all of this in the running time of 111 minutes. If you hang to the end, the very end of the movie there is a little Easter egg. While cool, if you don't stay it won't be a huge loss.