Newest Review: ... make this film a real treat for the eyes and ears. One of the quotes on the DVD case is 'If you thought Moulin Rouge was a sensory o... more
Blood, Gore and... Opera?!
Darren Lynn Bousman - Repo! The Genetic Opera (DVD)
Member Name: magenta23
Darren Lynn Bousman - Repo! The Genetic Opera (DVD)
Advantages: Unique, characters, music
Disadvantages: An aquired taste, not for everyone
Well, where do you begin to describe REPO!? Think The Rocky Horror Picture Show mixed with Saw and Sin City, add some operatic numbers from Sarah Brightman and er...Paris Hilton. Yes, this won't be quite like anything you've seen before.
REPO! Is set in the future where an epidemic of organ failures threatens to kill mankind. Born of this crisis is GeneCo, a company who charge the infected for organ replacements, usually offering finance options for their clients to settle their accounts. However, fall behind on your payments and GeneCo send in the RepoMan to reclaim their property...
Repo is really made up of a number of interlinking stories..
1) Owner of GeneCo is Rotti Largo, who is dying and needs to decide which of his terrible children - Luigi, Pavi or Amber will inherit his rotten empire. This breeds a real rivalry between the three siblings, each with their own stories.
2)Meanwhile, Shilo, the 17 year old daughter of Nathan Wallace is kept locked up due to a rare blood disease she inherited from her now deceased mother. Nathan is very overprotective of Shilo and doesn't want her to go out and learn what a terrible world she lives in, and indeed his part in it.
3)Part of the dark world is the underground drug scene, frequented by Amber Sweet, daughter of Rotti who has become hooked on the drug Zydrate, a powerful pain killer harvested by our narrator, the Graverobber from the brains of corpses. Zydrate is highly addictive and Amber takes it to kill the pain caused from her other addiction, plastic surgery.
4)Blind Mag is the other main character in this film, a superstar pop opera singer who belongs to GeneCo after a deal made to help her see again...
The way in which all these plots come together is very clever and there are a number of twists and turns to this unique story.
The way in which the story is told is very original. The overall look is very dark and the use of comic book style animation cut in between the live action is both visually impressive and helps to connect the sometimes complicated intertwining plots. In addition to this we have a narrator, the Graverobber, played superbly by writer and composer, Terrance Zdunich, who pops up from time to time to help us along with the developments in the story, as well as having his own part to play in the proceedings. The narration, along with most of the other dialogue is of course sung, this is a full blown operatic musical.
The combination of all these elements make this film a real treat for the eyes and ears. One of the quotes on the DVD case is 'If you thought Moulin Rouge was a sensory overload- you haven't seen anything yet.' I couldn't agree more, Repo! has so much going on, it truly is unique.
CHARACTERS and PERFORMANCES
The Graverobber is the first character we are introduced to at the start of the film. A long haired, mysterious pale faced man in a trench coat with a menacing yet engaging air, who surprisingly when he opens his mouth has a deep gravelly voice which oozes sex appeal. Yes, I found man who robs graves and sucks goo out of corpses brains very attractive. I need help. As I've mentioned the Graverobber is played by Terrance Zdunich who also co writes and composes all the music for Repo.
Shilo, played by Alexa Vega of 'Spy Kids' fame, is a necessary character but somewhat dull and ordinary compared to the other people we meet. A pretty girl with a sweet yet powerful voice, her singing did irritate a little after a while. Just her voice wasn't to my taste.
Nathan is played by the brilliant Anthony Stewart Head, annoyingly best known for his role in the terrible Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though has been in a host of far better things. He plays the part of doting yet tortured father with a double life brilliantly. As the story progresses the audiences opinion of this character changes. Again a crucial part to play in the story but without the quirkyness of some of the other figures. I can't fault Head's performance, however.
Blind Mag, played by Sarah Brightman has to be one of the most visually engaging characters in this, or indeed any film. With blood red lips, deep dark eye sockets and long black hair Brightman is both chillingly unnerving yet remaining somehow to still be incredibly beautiful. Her part, I guess isn't too much of a stretch playing an opera star, but I guess that's why she was cast.
The Largo family are at the centre of everything throughout the film and they are a strange bunch! Rotti is a typical crook businessman type, with a gangster air about him, played by Paul Sorvino, best known for his role in 'Goodfellas'. He's cast well but again, I don't this this role was a stretch. The two sons of Rotti are Luigi played by Bill Moseley and Pavi played, appropriately by Nivek Ogre. Whilst Luigi is a fairly forgettable character, Pavi is truly terrifying and I wouldn't be surprised if he stars in a few nightmares after watching this. As if this guy's creepy mannerisms weren't enough, he likes to wear other people's faces and clips them to his own creating a sort of deranged clown look. A fantastic horror movie character.
Of course, there's one I've left until last to discuss, the third child of Rotti, Carmela Largo otherwise known as Amber Sweet, played by 'famous for being famous' Paris Hilton. Now if most people said to me, watch this film, it's got Paris Hilton in it I'd say no thanks but I have to say she's not nearly as awful as I was expecting. Having said that she does play a vanity obsessed, scantily clad daughter of wealthy businessman who wants to be a respected artist (she wants Blind Mag's job) but ends up with publicity for all the wrong reasons. Sound familiar? At first I cynically thought she might have been cast in the role as a sort of joke at her expense by the makers. However a number of reports on the internet claim that director Darren Bousman originally didn't want to cast her but she was smuggled a script whilst in jail and perfected he part, blowing them away at the audition. I can't say I now rate Hilton as an actress but her performance in Repo! doesn't let the rest of the cast down.
Whilst this a rock opera, much of the dialogue I would describe so much as songs as sung speeches. Having said that there are a few numbers that are real stand out tunes and I could listen to happily independent of the film. My favourite being 'Zydrate Anatomy,' a number sung by the Graverobber and Amber in the drug addict underworld. Accompanied by a sequence of dance and debauchery worthy of any top rate musical, this is a highlight.
The listed score is a mind blowing 73 songs long (that's after they cut 10!), but don't let this put you off, as I said not all this are full blown numbers.
The DVD features the usual commentary that no one ever listens to, four deleted scenes and some making of and interview type featurettes. Nothing overly exciting however they also inclue some sing along tracks which is quite fun!
Overall, I'd say I rate Repo! Personally I love it but I know that it's very much an acquired taste and can completely understand why someone would hate it! It's not really for the faint hearted either, both because there is a lot of blood and gore, as well as some window smashing high notes from Brightman!
LOOK OUT FOR...
Two highlights to look out for which you see this. A blink and you'll miss it cameo from Joan Jett, and my favourite part, Paris Hilton's face falling off! If you're not a fan of hers watch it for this alone!
Summary: Rock Opera gore fest.