Repo Man, Directed by Alex Cox
Universal Pictures, March 2, 1984 (US)
Screenplay: Alex Cox
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez
Agent Rogersz (Susan Barnes): It happens sometimes. People just explode. Natural Causes.
Someone’s always trying to steal something from you. Your wallet. Your watch. Your VW Rabbit. The ugly plastic Reindeer lit up like motel signs on your front lawn. Your petite girlfriend. Your hot-but-slightly-bi-boyfriend. Your grandma’s old rug and dining room set. One day they’ll strip you of everything. Your house. Your clothes. Your underwear. They’ll peel away the skin and steal your organs. Rip off your bones. They want your mind. Your body. Your soul. In the end there’s nothing left. Not even dust as this they want, too. Why? Because it belongs to you.
Otto (Emilio Estevez): I ain’t gonna be no repo man. No way.
Marlene (Vonetta McGee): It’s too late [hands him $25]. You already are.
Nobody wants your opinion. Your message. You precious black poems scrawled on binder paper. Your bad art. Lumpy clay pots you made in ceramics class. Nobody wants your company. Your attitude. Your style. Even worse, nobody wants your love. Your sympathy. Your attention. Nobody wants anything from you at all, actually. They just want your stuff. Your things. All those dirty shiny bits and pieces that orbit around you like cluttered space-junk. You had better give it up. These people want them bad.
Duke (Dick Rude): I know a life of crime led me to this sorry fate, and yet I blame society. Society made me what I am.
Otto: That’s bullshit. You’re a white suburban punk just like me.
Duke: Yeah, but it still hurts.
It’s a mammonistic world and we’re all corporeal girls. There’s just not enough candy for everyone. So steal what you can. Take what you want. You can take it with you (the bank owns it anyway). You’re just the end consumer. The end product. The invisible man. Repossessed man. You could be recalled at any time. Loan denied. All you are is bad credit. Bad shoes. Bad job. No bread or beer money. You never saved. Never put in. You’re not truly part of the system. The financial cosmic wheel. Nothing is really yours. You’re somebody else’s property.
Debbi (Jennifer Balgobin): Let’s go do some crimes.
Duke: Yeah, let’s go get Sushi and not pay.
This film is an ultimate indictment of the eighties. Great hair / vapid minds. It’s an ultimate spoof of ourselves, our ultra-Lycra world: a well-off, bourgeois land of slick complacency and bad argyle shirts. A dead mirror for every dull business major who ever had a perm and got his butt painted after a frat house party. All the empty but beautiful people banging away in Volvos to the soft-synth sounds of processed new wave. No one was really different. No one strange. No one ever questioned the things that they did but just went along with the crowd. Big fat checks and empty heads. But oh what clothes! This film takes the piss out of all of it. It’s a non-definable punk, sci-fi, twisted thriller that’s really really messed up but really really funny. It also carries a strong message. Sees through the see-through plastic skirts and generic products stocked in the mini marts. Life is great if your parent’s have money to pay for the fun, but the rest of us got to work at 7-11. Steal cars. Hope we’re not abducted by aliens and stuffed into car trunks. Can’t make the payments? Then give it up. The televisions, the stereo systems, the shiny red convertibles. Everything you ever bought on bad credit. Nothing belongs to you. Not really. So why not let it go?
Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) Credit is a sacred trust, it’s what our free society is founded on.
Reverend Larry (Bruce White): I do want your money, because God wants your money.
Bud: Only an asshole gets killed for a car.