6.7/10
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266 user 149 critic

Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

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A worldwide epidemic encourages a biotech company to launch an organ-financing program similar in nature to a standard car loan. The repossession clause is a killer, however.

Writers:

Darren Smith (screenplay), Terrance Zdunich (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alexa PenaVega ... Shilo Wallace (as Alexa Vega)
Paul Sorvino ... Rotti Largo
Anthony Head ... Nathan / Repo Man (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Sarah Brightman ... Blind Mag
Paris Hilton ... Amber Sweet
Bill Moseley ... Luigi Largo
Kevin 'ohGr' Ogilvie Kevin 'ohGr' Ogilvie ... Pavi Largo (as Ogre)
Terrance Zdunich ... Graverobber
Sarah Power ... Marni
Jessica Horn Jessica Horn ... Jessica Adams
Branko Lebar Branko Lebar ... Rotti's Chauffeur
Briana Buckmaster ... Sherrie Alviso
Anna Kostan Anna Kostan ... Young Mormon Woman
Brad Austin Brad Austin ... Young Mormon Man
Marty Adams ... Big Man
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Storyline

In the year 2056 - the not so distant future - an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy, a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants, for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men. In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her family's mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo, she is unable to turn back, as all of her questions will be answered at the wildly anticipated spectacular event: The Genetic Opera. Written by Lionsgate

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Not Your Parent's Opera See more »

Genres:

Horror | Musical | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence and gore, language, some drug and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 November 2008 (Czech Republic) See more »

Also Known As:

Foniki synallagi See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,029, 14 November 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$140,244, 7 December 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place in 2040 and 2056. See more »

Goofs

The story in newspaper with the headline "Marni Calls Off Wedding!" shown during the "Gold" scene is about Blind Mag working for GeneCo, not Marni breaking up with Rotti, See more »

Quotes

Amber Sweet: I look like a crime scene, dad!
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the original script the film began with the character Shilo Wallace going down to her mother's tomb and the first song was 21st Century Cure. The creators thought that how the movie started was too slow so they decided to take the song 'Genetic Repoman' that was suppose to play at the end of the film and put it at the very beginning. Then they cut the scene Thing's You See in a Graveyard into two separate parts and played part 1 after Genetic Repoman. This gave the film more of a bigger and dramatic opening. See more »

Connections

Version of Repo! The Genetic Opera (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Seventeen
Written by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich
Performed by Alexa PenaVega (as Alexa Vega)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Blood, guts and vocal range
7 November 2008 | by tawdry_hepburnSee all my reviews

There are two ways in which a movie can succeed.

One—it can have a fully realized plot that works to explain some larger subtextual moral. It can demonstrate a mastery of technical and thematic areas and create an emotional response in the viewer. This is the route that most critics look for when giving a positive review. Films like Schindler's List. On the Waterfront. A Streetcar Named Desire.

The other way in which a movie can succeed is with ideas. This type of movie doesn't have to make sense in the same way that a traditional film does. It simply has to take you somewhere you have never been, and hopefully throw your mind through a few loops along the way. Films like El Topo. The Fountain. Eraserhead. Gummo. The Exterminating Angels.

Repo! The Genetic Opera definitely falls into the latter category.

The story, told entirely through song, details the intersecting secrets of people living in a world where a mysterious virus has caused random organ failure and forced people to resort to leasing cloned organs, at a very high price.

There is so much whimsy in this film that it almost becomes an absurdist fairytale. It skips and jumps from one homage to the next, cribbing notes from Rocky Horror in one scene before moving on to Rigoletto in the next. Genres and archetypes are thrown up against one another and mashed together with reckless abandon mixing Grand Guignol with Sondheim and Disney with Faces of Death. It cuts together the pieces of our collective pop culture consciousness the same way that the antagonists cut together new forms for their bodies.

And it's wickedly funny too.

Picking up where the ultimate consumers of Romero's shopping malls left off, Repo! makes for a brutal satire of consumer culture where human flesh is a commodity bought and sold with government approval. People have designer spines and get upgrades on their bodies when they go in for maintenance on their artificial organs. Starlets don't forget to wear panties, they forget to sew on their new faces.

Darren Lynn Bousman has made a name for himself as a go-to guy for over the top, operatic gore and he doesn't shy away from it here. Repo! is often tremendously bloody with sanguine spilling left and right, often directly on top of naked flesh. He takes what he learned making Saw II--IV and pushes in into overdrive as he uses it to skewer one satirical target after the next.

Normally I am one to shy away from sexualized violence. I find it repulsive and saddening, but here, Bousman has found that perfect mix between sexy and grotesque. Though the bloodletting is vicious, it never spills over into elaborate rape fantasy. It is a shame that he is no longer attached to the Hellraiser relaunch.

The cast, made up of a bizarre collection of geek favorites, musicians and world famous opera singers is almost weirder than the movie's central conceit. Paul Sorvino is brilliant fun as the patriarch who controls the world but finds himself unable to defeat cancer. Sorvino is fascinating to watch when he is let loose and he has a singing voice to rival any star of stage. Sarah Brightman is also quite good in a small roll that is entirely divorced from her signature turn in Phantom of the Opera. The rest of the cast is a bit of a mixed bag. Alexa Vega is strong as the cloistered daughter of the eponymous organ ripper and Anthony Stewart Head outdoes his Buffy singing, even as his role is too close to that of Giles. Meanwhile Bill Mosely is obnoxious and all over the place, playing his seventh version of Chop-top while Paris Hilton is actually shockingly watchable as Amber Sweet, a heightened reality version of herself. But the real standout is Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy. The man steals the show as a deformed lothario who has a nasty habit of killing his lovers.

At a point, the film becomes as scattershot as the cast list with some moments hitting it out of the park while others miss wildly. By the end of the film one would be hard pressed to explain how the characters all end up in the same place, but it has long since ceased to matter because you've either accepted that the film is fairly divorced from reality, or else, you've walked out of the theater. I stayed, and loved every minute of it.

When I see a movie like this, I want to be taken to a new world. Somewhere strange and alien. The futuristic retro-chic of the Repo's alternate dimension is vibrant and dazzling, it's a whirling dervish of colors and styles. And though it never comes together, the overwhelming strangeness of it is intoxicating. The music is not for everyone, and the bloodletting is extreme, but Repo! offers something rarely seen at the multiplex--originality.

A-

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