Friday, November 14, 2008

Review: Repo! The Genetic Opera

A Lionsgate film 2008

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman

Writing credits:
Darren Smith (screenplay)
Terrance Zdunich (screenplay)

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.

This horror-musical directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II-IV) was a passion project, and it shows. Clearly made for the cult-niche market, Repo! is a mess of electronic music, goth imagery, pulp violence and slapstick humor. While by no means a good film, it will certainly find its place amongst those for whom it was made, as well as a few stragglers, like myself.

Why did I like this movie? I'm not sure. Maybe it's because I have a penchant for horror-musicals -- the audacity, the self-awareness, the silliness of it all was reminiscent of Phantom of the Paradise but for the digital age. Maybe because I've never quite seen anything like it before.

It has it's problems for sure -- comic book style title cards display the action before the film kicks in, revealing way too much information. The acting and singing are terrible. The music has no hooks and isn't memorable. The color palate is disgusting and terribly digital and overexposed. But that's the charm. You can tell so much heart and soul went into making it that eventually it just sucks you in. And the self-awareness that holds throughout adds a lot of humor. It's a pretty damn funny movie.

The film was released in a road show format earlier this year, and already had a sizable cult following before its first date. The showing I went to was completely sold out hours before the showing. I can't say I recommend it, but one look at the trailer, and you can immediately tell if this film is for you.

Man, I Wish It Were March

Every time a new Watchmen item is released I get more excited/worried about this film. Watchmen is my all time favorite comic book and one of my favorite books in general. It's a stunning psychological work, incredibly thought provoking and layered with meaning. Dark Knight proved that comic book movies don't have to be all action and silly costumes. Let's hope they get this one right as well.