Repo Man (1984) Alex Cox | Movement Nu 32
Repo Man to me is the epitome of a punk rock movie. Sure there are others, but Repo Man is the punk rock I fell in love with, the weird-o tale of a misfit in a increasingly deranged world where parents give promised school funding to teleavangelists and the only outlet from such a strange, cyclone of a life is a weirder, rawer more immediate one.
Alex Cox has been known for his “blacklist” films that he so nicely dubbed because of his own raw conviction in portraying what he wants to, what he feels, what he has seen, the essence of punk all in his take on filming. Cox takes us behind the wheel of Otto and his repossession agent life (Emilio Estevez). Otto, being a loyalist to himself more than anything else is initially turned off by the concept of a repo man but slowly falls into the cycle of spinning wheels and pissed off victims as he receives immediate cash, and of course, thrill. Hotwiring, drugs and good pay make for a thrill jockey life that Otto immediately feels connected with.
Otto meets Leila who gives him information about a mysteriously cool Chevy Malibu from New Mexico that contains dead but highly dangerous aliens in the trunk. Of course, Otto being Otto doesn’t believe her and is only interested when he finds out that the pay is 20,000 dollars. And thus, the competition of the repo men begins for the Malibu that contains what is worth a lot more than 20,000 dollars. Meanwhile, the scientist driving the vehicle with the stolen aliens is slowly going insane due to the radiation which makes for a wonderful, wonderful visual.
Voted eighth best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years by Los Angeles Times, it communicates, as the Times says, “Some Inherent Truth about the L.A. experience.”
This is Repo Man. Repo Man is L.A., even in the present. A strange, wonderful circus of a life filled with thrills, upsets, and weirdly amazing people. Every time I go to L.A. I am reminded of it. By just the sheer size of the city itself, one can’t help but wonder what the hell really goes on in all of those neighborhoods, what people really do and don’t do, and who has disappeared without anyone knowing? It’s eerie in a way, but refreshingly exhilarating as well. The soundtrack, of course, is layered with punk rock such as Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Iggy Pop, Fear, The Plugz, Suicidal Tendencies, Burning Sensations and Juicy Bananas. There is even a scene where Otto and his friends are in a circle pit throwing themselves to the wonderful sounds of Circle Jerks.
It’s an awesome film filled with incredible visuals that leaves one gagging with laughter and inspiration. Emilio needs to do a punk rock version of the Mighty Ducks.