Repo Man is a weird fucking movie. This is a throwback from the 80’s about punks, repo men, and aliens. It’s not like other films; you don’t learn some lesson at the films climax. There is no, “Oh,” moment. For most of the film your left wondering what it’s even about.
We live in a time now where we are grotesquely bombarded with advertising in every aspect of our lives. Every big name artist who has a music video has it open with a close up of Bud Light or some other goddamn garbage. We are forced to watch a thirty second ad to watch a 15 second video of some dudes cat, online. I don’t really know what happens on actual television anymore but I’m sure it’s worse. We can’t walk down the street, get into a cab or click a link without being smacked in the mouth by some stupid advertisement for some show you’ll never watch or vacation you’ll never be able afford or some other similarly related product you have no interest in. We’re always left wanting more junk and never believing we could actually be satisfied, thanks to the insidious nature of advertising.
Enter, Repo Man. Zero product placement. They do mention the names of a few cars but aside from this, every piece of food and drink has a pretty little generic label. Food comes in a can that says, “food.” Beer is in a can that says, “beer.” At one point Harry Dean Stanton’s character, “Bud,” asks his young punk protégé, “Otto,” (played by Emilio Estevez) if he wants to get a drink, and they buy two six packs which are labeled, “drink.” The film has entire grocery stores filled with items with the exact same sort of labeling. In our current era, where an ad seems to be slipped into the tightest of ass cracks, Repo Man, releases some tension.
The film follows a recently out of work punk named, “Otto.” Fired from his job as a grocery store stock boy. Otto floats through a couple of parties has a few beers and while walking around trying to figure out what to do with his life is tricked into stealing a car by a grizzled old vet named “Bud.” After a little convincing, the two team up to repossess cars under the backdrop of an absolute wasteland called, “Los Angeles.” All the while a mysterious Chevy Malibu with a trunk filled with some mysterious alien something is killing anyone who opens it. We meet a colorful cast of characters, outcasts who are drawn to the dangerous life of being repo men. All the while Bud tries to teach an uninterested Otto the ropes of repossession. There are also buds old punk friends who are found robbing every store in town at gunpoint, and an underground group bent on blowing the lid of an alien cover up. Repo Man, is perfectly weird, following zero of the usual film tropes, the soundtrack is amazing, and Iggy Pop performs its theme song. Other bands of note in the film are: Fear, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and Suicidal Tendencies. Repo Man is a big Fuck You to your average movie, and one you should definitely get drunk and pass out to.
Review by Timothy White. Follow him on Twitter @TipToTheHip.