Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, and Liev Schreiber have great chemistry in offbeat effort
The best science-fiction, like the best horror, manages to be about more than one thing, using the outrageous to illustrate the universal. "Repo Men" doesn't quite hit all of its targets, but it hits enough of them to count as a welcome and even exciting new SF vision. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker have surprisingly rich chemistry in the film, and despite one major storytelling stumble, it's soulful enough to linger.
Law stars as Remy, a repo man working for The Union, the company that makes the artificial organs that have revolutionized health care in the future. The organs are obscenely overpriced, and patients are cornered into buying, sometimes going black market. It's a genuinely interesting industry to imagine and explore, and Miguel Sapotchnik's taken as many cues from the reality of modern New York and Tokyo as from the futurescapes of "Brazil" or "Blade Runner" in bringing his vision to the screen. Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner, working from Garcia's novel, have played fast and free with structure on the film, and as a result, it feels like you end up watching two or three different movies.
The first movie's probably the most fun, with Remy and Jake (Forest Whitaker) working the job. It's matter-of-fact, observational, all character and chemistry. Law etches Remy as a charismatic cad, a guy who can't admit to himself how much he enjoys the hunt. He's good at it, and a part of him enjoys the pain he causes someone else. He's a thug, born and raised, and his job is his excuse to keep that up, to indulge it with approval. That's the bond he shares with Jake, since he's the exact same way. And as long as that's the movie, it's just plain dark bloody fun. Liev Schreiber plays Frank, their boss at The Union, and he's an absolutely ruthless salesman, well-oiled and unburdened by any vestige of humanity. He's sensational in the part. It's one of those roles that exists like a gift to an actor, a supporting role that gets a high percentage of the good lines in the movie.