Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#729. Repo Man (1984)

Directed By: Alex Cox

Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, Emilio Estevez, Tracey Walter

Tag line: "A repo man is always intense... but only a fool gets killed for a car"

Trivia: Lance Henriksen was a front runner for the part of the lobotomized driver of the Chevy Malibu

Alex Cox’s Repo Man defies explanation. It’s a wild, chaotic film that throws out one surprise after another, with no way of predicting what will happen next.

Otto (Emilio Estevez) is a suburban punk who recently lost his job stocking shelves at the local supermarket. One day, he has a run-in with a middle-aged repo man named Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), who convinces Otto to come work with him. But the young man gets more than he bargained for with his new position, embarking on a series of adventures involving government agents, aliens from outer space, a girl named Leila (Olivia Barash), and a ’64 Chevy Malibu that promises a small fortune to the first repo man lucky enough to bring it in.

Repo Man borders on insanity, creating an alternate reality that resembles our world in every way, yet follows none of its rules. As the movie opens, the ’64 Chevy is making its way down a desert road, driven by a guy wearing a pair of sunglasses with one of the lenses missing. At first, he doesn’t notice the motorcycle cop trying to pull him over, but eventually brings the car to a casual stop along the side of the road. The cop asks what he’s got in the trunk. “Oh, you don’t wanna look in there”, the driver says matter-of-factly, at which point the cop snatches the keys and has a gander inside. Suddenly, a bright light emanates from the back of the car, vaporizing the cop and leaving only his boots standing in the middle of the road. Later, a government agent (Susan Barnes) joins the investigation into this cop’s death, telling the other officers “People just explode sometimes”, and chalking his demise up to natural causes. Of course, she has an ulterior motive for wanting to throw the police off the trail of the ’64 Chevy, and one of the joys of Repo Man is trying to figure out who knows what, who’s working with who, and, most of all, what the hell is going on at any given moment.

It might not be an easy movie to crack, but I can guarantee you’ll have fun trying. Repo Man is anarchy to the infinite power, and I loved every twisted second of it!


Kevin Bachelder said...

It was a blast to have had you on my Saturday B Movie Reel podcast to talk about this one. Thanks Dave.

Robert M. Lindsey said...

I saw this in college but I don't think I was prepared for how weird it is. Perhaps if I tried it again I'd get it.

Dave B. said...

Thanks for the comments!

@Kevin: I, too, had a great time! Thanks for having me on. And everyone: Check out the link to Kevin's Saturday B Movie Reel Podcast...it's a lot of fun!

@Robert: It's certainly weird, and I'm sure you're not the only one who's struggled with it, but definitely give it another chance!

Tommy Ross said...

Repo Man reminds us that filmmaking is truly art and with the right imagination and creativity you can truly craft something very special and unique that nobody else can imitate.

PumamanRedux said...

haven't seen this film since UHF stations were in vogue ...

I recently bought the Criterion bluray of Repo Man and look forward to watching the film

All I remember is the motorcycle cop getting vaporized and Otto eating out of a can labelled DOG FOOD ...

nice review Dave