Remy (Jude Law) is calm. He has broken into a man’s home, knocked him out, and begins retrieving an organ. It’s a daily occurrence, working as a repo man, but not for cars or high-priced electronics. Remy takes back artificial organs people need to live.
The Union is the medical conglomerate of the future, selling people life with only 21% percent interest after the first month. When they can’t afford it, which of course they can’t, the Union takes it back regardless of its effect on the patient and re-uses it on someone else. It’s a wonderfully dark, twisted look at a possible future, where the repo men believe in what they are doing despite the death. They are literally driven mad by killing people, snagging someone’s heart at Christmas and then laughing about it later.
Repo Men’s conflict is derived from a switch, where Remy is suddenly in need of an artificial heart, but can’t work due to the stress it puts on the device. He falls behind on payments, and sees his own job from the other side.
There is some sporadic laughter in Repo Men. It is darkly twisted and certainly not for the squeamish. Seeing the black market for these organs, surgery performed casually by a nine-year old girl, not only delivers the sense of how corrupt the entire market is (legit or not), but offers some laughs in what turns into a depressing film that never bends to the Hollywood norm of the happy ending.
In fact, the twist at the end either makes or breaks the film for many, but it’s a curveball that is appropriate. Repo Men plays with the audience, and then tosses them for a loop where this ugly vision of the future seems to have no resolve whether it ends with the twist or not. It’s a harsh world, one worth revisiting for the chaotic tone, overloads of gore (even more so in this seven-minute longer unrated cut), and a healthy dose of social commentary. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]
(Note: All time stamps are from the Unrated cut)
Universal generates a clean, sharp AVC encode for this Blu-ray, one rich in detail, depth, and color. Repo Men is a dark film, generally set in limited light, yet texture is still admirably on display. As Forest Whitaker and Jude Law are in the car at 12:30, definition, shadow detail, and facial detail are all on display. There is no dip in sharpness, although this is not always true. Around 1:01:00, the image becomes slightly murky and soft, that same level of texture lost, a bit of a drastic dip in comparison.
A fine layer of film grain is barely noticeable, only once or twice made visible due to a hint of noise, such as the 30:00 mark. The encode is generally out of sight and mind. Rich black levels keep the dimensionality in the frame, even from the opening shot of Law at 1:46. This mid-range opener carries wonderful depth, bright contrast, and strong color, a fine start for a transfer that generally remains this consistent.
Colors tend to sit in a cool range, although not noticeably. Flesh tones remain accurate with a dash of color, and the bright lights of the digitally rendered cities are impossible to ignore for their vibrancy. A flashback to Law’s childhood is the most vivid moment of the film, scenes on a school playground saturated with bold primaries and other presented hues.
Repo Men consistently provides nearly flawless delineation in close, easily its strongest aspect. Close-ups are always rife with detail, the number of near reference shots too many to count. Even the occasional camera trick, soft focus, or slight distortion is not enough to dilute the imagery of this 2.35:1 framed effort. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
Loaded with intense action, Repo Men’s DTS-HD mix is given plenty to do, whether that’s gunfire or splattering blood due to a well-placed knife. The opening logos are situated behind stock newscasts and radio reports, all of which swirl around the soundfield with specific placement, motion, and clarity. City ambiance is high, along with birds chirping at a barbecue, or the stray police siren inside a building.
The highlights of course are the action scenes, the first major one being a raid about 22:18 with extensive stun gun fire, yelling, and the highly aggressive Marco Beltrami score in the background. The mixture of the music, dialogue, and effects is phenomenal, still giving the score plenty of force and surround bleed without overwhelming anything else.
Dialogue outside of the action does come through somewhat low, characters speaking in a whisper or low enough as to not be caught. Bass is powerful and forceful, whether it’s a tank shell exploding at 31:50, or the final explosion at 1:48:55 which carries excellent oomph and extends deep. Music always carries a bit of low-end punch as well, again mixing well with the other elements. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
Director Miguel Sapochnik and his writers Eric Garcia & Garrett Lerner provide a commentary for the film, and the same goes for the five deleted scenes (8:38) where it’s optional. Seven commercials for The Union are available to play in full. Inside the Visual Effects is self-explanatory, with narration from Sapochnik and Garcia.
U-Control features include tech specs of the devices and pop-up featurettes. The disc supports D-Box and Universal’s typical BD-Live access. The Theatrical cut is also here if you choose. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Extras]
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