It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"Repo Men" makes sci-fi's strongest possible case for universal health care. In a world of the near future, where they still drive current cars, a giant corporation named the Union will provide you with a human heart, kidney, liver or other organ. Let's say a pancreas costs you, oh, say $312,000. No, it's not covered by insurance, but the sales guy says, "You owe it to yourself and your family." For a guy in need of a pancreas, this is an eloquent argument. Interest rates are around 19 percent.
Now let's say you can't make the payments. If you fall behind more than three months, they send around a Repo Man who shoots you with a stun gun, slices open your body, reaches in and repossesses the organ. To be sure, he puts on latex gloves first. I don't believe the gun kills you, but after they leave you on the floor with an organ missing, your prognosis is poor.
Let's say you were conscious during such a procedure. Would it hurt? You bet. At one point in the film, our heroes Remy and Beth (Jude Law and Alice Braga) decide the only way to outwit the company's computer is to repossess themselves. He has a donor heart, and as for Beth, her heart is her own, but is surrounded by guest organs. They don't actually carve themselves open and remove the organs. No, that would be fatal. But they have to reach inside each other with a bar-code scanner and scan them in. As Remy carves into his chest with a big old knife, you oughta see the way his fist clenches and how he grits his teeth. He's thinking, I wish I had the public option.
I don't know if the makers of this film intended it as a comedy. A preview audience regarded it with polite silence, and left the theater in an orderly fashion. There are chases and shootouts, of course, and a standard overwrought thriller soundtrack, with the percussion guy hammering on cymbals and a big bass drum. Even then, you wonder.