Repo! The Genetic Opera
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich
“It’s the 21st century cure…” –The Graverobber (Terrance Zdunich)
“Out from the night stood a figure…” this movie begins. Oddly enough I feel it was a good opening line for this movie because this movie came out of nowhere and impressed me quite a bit. Who would think a musical such as this existed in the world? This is one reason I started to do movie reviews. To give these unknowns a chance. The basis of this movie is dark and disturbing, not only that but the writers turned it into a musical. And no shit, a couple of years after this musical was released, Hollywood took the bare bones of this story and placed it in a movie with Adrien Brody called “Repomen.” So, yes, I want to talk about this movie because it is a hidden gem in my mind.
Let’s begin with the story. So, apparently in the 21ST Century a plague ambushed the world. Organ failures became a prominent cause of death that most of the population had suffered. Out from the decaying world a man named Rotti Largo (Paul Sorvino) rose to prominence, by creating a business venture. You can rent organs to survive, however if you fail to pay for them a Repo Man can reclaim them while you are still alive. How fucked up is that in the future? Legal assassination now run rapid and the best Repo Man of them all is a former colleague of Rotti (Sorvino) named Nathan (Anthony Head—Yes Giles from Buffy). Their friendship is a rocky one to say the least.
Nathan (Head) though never quite explained took a former lover of Rotti (Sorvino) as his wife. Marni (Sarah Power) the one who fell in love with Nathan (Head), was one of the persons who started to become ill with the organ failure disease and Nathan (Head) a legit scientist/doctor was trying to save her from this deadly disease that she had caught during her pregnancy. Nathan (Head) had just about found the cure when a jealous and greedy Rotti (Sorvino), switched a bottle of Nathan’s (Head) cure with poison. She fell ill instantly and Nathan (Head) tried to save her but could not, however he did save the baby. Knowing this Rotti (Sorvino) used this opportunity to blackmail Nathan (Head) into working as a Repo Man. Nathan (Head) accepted and Rotti (Sorvino) had a monopoly on organ leasing throughout the world.
Rotti (Sorvino) became rich off of this endeavor. He holds the man who found the cure for the world hostage by blackmailing him into being a murderer. Nathan (Head) tries to battle his inner demons to protect his now 17-year-old daughter Shilo (Alexa PenaVega) from discovering the truth in which he believes he killed her mother. He tries to protect her by locking her away from the world inside a prison of a house. But Rotti (Sorvino) now has found out that he now suffers the same ailment as many others and the doctors can’t help him. His legacy is about to be lost among his sadistic, narcissistic, and disturbed children who he gave everything to for free. He hates his children so much he wants to let Shilo (PenaVega) to inherit his legacy believing that she is the daughter he should have had if Nathan (Head) did not steal Marni (Power) from him so long ago. But in order for her to inherit this fortune she must kill her father.
I understand that was a lot. But this movie does so well with the story through music and cuts that are like comic book drawings to explain all that happens. The movie is never slow and Head does well in changing of his voice while singing to express his inner demon battle with his fatherly protective duty. Sorvino is a horrible conniving asshole who loves to play people against one another to gain his upper hand in all situations. The music is unique and genuine and almost every character you meet in the story there is some characteristic development that came with it. I have not seen it yet but people say that there are live performances of this dark movie acted out in midnight showings throughout the nation like “Rocky Horror.” The visual effects are done well. The atmosphere and cinematography show the grittiness of the movie. And there are not many musicals this dark out there, so trying to form a niche this movie did well in that action.
I hope you enjoy this dark musical of twist and turns. And remember to pay your debt.
--Reviewed by Professor Timore