Logline: A repo man takes a young punk under his wing and the two look for a Chevy Malibu that has something otherworldly in its trunk.
Review: “The life of a repo man is always intense.” The fact that twenty-nine year old Alex Cox’s directorial debut Repo Man was picked up by Universal Studios is miraculous. In the 1980s, the Hollywood blockbuster was king and it was rare that small, independent films were financed by studios. Despite this, Repo Man was released by Universal in February 1984 for one week before being pulled. However, the soundtrack, which featured a collection of L.A. punk rock bands from the time, was such a success that Universal decided to re-release the film to theaters. The film received critical acclaim and modest success at the box office. In the years since its release, Repo Man has garnered legions of fans and it has become one of the quintessential 80s cult films.
Repo Man is such an oddity and there is no film quite like it. It is both a gritty, look at the punk scene in 1980s Los Angeles and a bizarre sci-fi comedy. It is also a social satire that criticizes American consumerism. The film stars Emilio Estevez as a convincing young punk named Otto and the always great Harry Dean Stanton as his mentor, Bud. Repo Man does not have much of a story but it has plenty of style. The film is beautifully shot and lit and has a great soundtrack.
Cox has a singular vision. Repo Man takes big risks and abides by its own rules. The film will not appeal to everyone but it is a unique and wonderfully bizarre piece of cinema that is worth checking out.
Rating (out of ****): ***1/2