It's a good thing I decided to rent two movies this weekend, since SPLICE ended up being not so great.
REPO MEN has single-handedly redeemed my faith in good SF. No, make that outstanding SF. I'm giving this one 10 out of 5 stars. And the fact that I am completely biased toward Jude Law as one of the best actors alive has nothing to do with it.
Well, maybe it does. But only a smidge. *grins*
The concept of this movie trumps all, and it can be summed up in a few choice words by the MC himself:
My job is simple. Can't pay for your car? The bank takes it back. Can't pay for your house? The bank takes it back. Can't pay for your liver? Well, that's where I come in.
Just imagine, for a moment, that you need a new organ of some sort or you'll die. Rather than have to wait for a donor to die first, you can get an artificial organ immediately... for a price. And you'd better find a way to make the payments, or else you've just signed your own death notice in the form of a legally binding loan contract with a much too high APR.
The repo men are extremely good at what they do (ex-military elite tend to be efficient killers), and they seem to have no conscience. They live by the phrase "a job's a job." Until one of them is suddenly on the other side of things...
After an accident during a routine job, Remy (Jude Law), wakes up in a hospital bed with an artificial heart. No turning back. No heart, you die. But now that he knows he could just as easily be on the receiving end of a repossession if he can't pay up, his "a job's a job" mantra doesn't quite make sense anymore.
It becomes too personal, as is clear from his own words at the first major turning point of the film:
Listening to Jake swapping stories about some schmuck and his overdue liver, all I can think about is how that schmuck has a name… and a wife… and kids.
He can't perform his job anymore, and without a steady income, his payments quickly go into past due status. Now he has a very short period of time (one of the most tried and true "up the stakes" techniques in storytelling) before the repo men can claim the company property that's keeping him alive. Where the story goes from there is a near-perfect example of how to use a great concept to its full potential. Cliche' as it may sound, my heart was literally thumping through this entire movie. There are also some effing hilarious LOL moments.
And the ending? Completely unexpected twist. If I could kiss this movie, I would. Totally in love.
But before you go running out to rent/buy it, a bit of warning: This movie is not for those with a weak stomach. Lots. Of. Blood. And just when you think it can't get any more bloody, it does.
As far as near future SF is concerned, though, the story is expertly delivered. Not only is it great entertainment, but all the ethical dilemmas make you think without forcing any philosophies down your throat. It simply says, "This is something bad that might happen in the future. Perhaps we should think twice before we go down that road."