It’s a sorry end for ‘Repo Men’

(L to R) Remy (JUDE LAW) and Jake (FOREST WHITAKER) as The Union enforcers in "Repo Men", a futuristic action-thriller set in a world where artificial organs are available to anyone willing to take the financial risk.


In the economy we now find ourselves in, the Repossession Department of any credit company is now a viable source of employment. And in the future, it will be even more lucrative, if you have the heart for it.
Jude Law is Remy, the best repo man in the business. But he works for the Union and they repossess what they manufacture: artificial organs. So if you can’t make your payments, the Union gives you a generous three months of leeway, but on the sixth day of the fourth month, Remy comes to find you and cuts the organ out to return it to the Union. With prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for each organ, Remy is swimming in work and loving it. But when a faulty defibrillator shorts out Remy’s heart, he is given one from the Union. When his heart is no longer in the job (or his body for that matter) he can no longer do his work, can’t collect commissions on his work, and therefore can’t make his payments. So on the sixth day of the fourth month, Remy makes a run for it.
Being pursued by the rest of the repo squad the Union employs, he is not only up against some of the best fighters and killers around, but also his friends. Remy’s partner, Jake (Forest Whitaker) is the second best, next only to Remy. But now that Remy can’t do what he used to, Jake is his toughest foe, both adversarily and emotionally. With the help of another runaway debtor to the Union, Beth (Alice Braga), Remy plans to break into the Union offices and destroy not only his and Beth’s records, but also those of every other debtor. With Jake hot on their tails, it is much easier said than done.
This film was great. Almost. If you walk away from the theater three minutes before it ends, it is a great film. But those last three minutes change and ruin everything. There is a technique in writing called “deus ex machina” which means “God from the machine.” In days of old, the ancient Greeks and Romans would write a script and the plot had thickened so much and the situation was so terrible that the audience was hanging on every word, waiting to see how the characters get out of that terrible situation. Then an actor playing God (one of the many) would descend from the sky and say “All is well again. I have fixed it. Now go about your lives.” This is a cop out technique for when writers write themselves into a corner and can’t think of a way out, like the end of “Alice in Wonderland” (the 1953 Disney version) or the Bob Newhart show – “It was all a dream.” There is no solution, and one isn’t needed because it was all fixed and explained away.
This film has a good ending. A few plot holes were left, but it’s okay because the end was solid. Unfortunately that solid ending is actually three minutes before the real ending, which employs the “Deus ex Machina” technique essentially re-writing the whole ending you thought you saw. Why settle for a weasel out like this? Even though it may be a minor issue for many audience members, this ruined the film for me.
If you leave the screen three minutes before the film is over, you will like it a lot – 4 out of 5 stars. But with the extra bit at the end, it becomes a bad excuse for going to the movies. I say wait for the DVD release. I give this film 2 out of 5 stars. Directed by Miguel Sapochnik and written by Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner, based on the novel, “The Repossession Mambo” by Eric Garcia.