Set in the near future when artificial organs can be bought on credit, it revolves around a man who struggles to make the payments on a heart he has purchased. He must therefore go on the run before said ticker is repossessed.
To foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a ruthless terrorist, but the plan backfires when the same criminal impersonates the cop with the same method.
When a Las Vegas performer-turned-snitch named Buddy Israel decides to turn state's evidence and testify against the mob, it seems that a whole lot of people would like to make sure he's no longer breathing.
In the future humans have extended and improved our lives through highly sophisticated and expensive mechanical organs created by a company called "The Union". The dark side of these medical breakthroughs is that if you don't pay your bill, "The Union" sends its highly skilled repo men to take back its property... with no concern for your comfort or survival. Former soldier Remy is one of the best organ repo men in the business. But when he suffers a cardiac failure on the job, he awakens to find himself fitted with the company's top-of-the-line heart-replacement... as well as a hefty debt. But a side effect of the procedure is that his heart's no longer in the job. When he can't make the payments, The Union sends its toughest enforcer, Remy's former partner Jake, to track him down. Written by
In the scene where Remy is on the typewriter typing and Jake walks into the room, you can see words on the paper. After a camera cut, the words are gone, and a blank piece of paper is in the typewriter instead. See more »
I saw an interview with a serial killer once. Said it took him six years to work up to his first kill. The second, a year. The third, just a week. Once that dam broke, it was a flood. Making people die, it had become second nature. Apparently, it also works the other way round.
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An advertisement screen for The Union appears at the end of the closing credits. See more »
SPOILERS ARE INCLUDED. THIS IS BOTH A REVIEW AND CRITICISM, SO PLOT DETAILS ARE NECESSARY.
I find that most people who review this film are hung up on the premise, special effects, gadgets and the many cinematic references. It's my personal opinion that the film uses "artiforg" repossession as a backdrop for the true conflicts, such as the cognitive dissonance we face in certain occupations and/or the desensitization it takes to do our jobs.
For example, we know that Remy was in the military, where dehumanization of the enemy is common practice. If an institution can convince its subjects that the enemy is deserving of cruelty, violent acts are subsequently less difficult to perform on another human being. So, it makes perfect sense that an individual like Remy has been socialized into doing his line of work. It's not apparent to Remy how atrocious his occupation is until he starts to recognize 1) his role in the violence and how it affects other people in his life and 2) what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a system that profits on suffering and loss.
This, in itself, is a commentary on how corporations profit in our society today. Pharmaceutical companies would be out of business if our society had easily accessible cures for modern infectious diseases. It's necessary for a population to treat symptoms rather than solve a problem at its roots. "Artiforg" sale and repossession is the same thing. Thus, as a gear in the machine, Remy has to decide for himself whether or not his line of work is ethical.
That's where the cognitive dissonance comes into play. I think the film did an excellent job of portraying. The metaphor here is are we correct in criticizing corporations while supporting them and working for them (I guess you could say it would be hypocritical then for this movie to be made, mass produced and distributed by a corporation also)? Now, I keep hearing a lot of criticism about the movie once Remy experiences (spoiler) the Neural Net reality (or alternative virtual consciousness) in which he and Beth repo one another, kill Frank, bomb the place and run away to some tropical paradise. All this complaining about the many cinematic references is kind of ridiculous, considering we know that this is Remy dreaming, essentially. Are anyone's dreams completely original all the time? I know a lot of my dreams borrow from movies I've seen. I know a lot of books and movies borrow from other stories, too, which has been the case for centuries. Why is this so criminal now?
But anyway, Remy is (in my opinion) experiencing a fantasy while distracted from physical reality. That was the whole point of the Neural Net product in the first place. It's a means of deterring terminally ill people from experiencing painful deaths and/or soothing retired folks in convalescent homes dealing with prolonged loneliness. Remy's subconscious is borrowing from his vicarious experiences. It's quite possible an individual like Remy has seen movies like Old Boy, 2001 Space Odyssey and The Matrix. Why not?
Anyway, I think this was a great film with a lot to say and it resonated with me quite well. I think what people look for in movies these days spoils a lot of the major ideas. If you get caught up in "the ending" or working your damnedest through copious Google searching to find blurry images of yet unrevealed movie monsters, you're not enjoying movies anymore. You're beating them to death with a spoiled outlook on plot, cinema and characterization. Repo Men is going to be misunderstood, in my eyes, for a long time because of this. Sorry so many of you let that happen.
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