Harry Dean Stanton
Otto (Emilio Estevez) is a Los Angeles punk, a loser with no direction and no role models. But he discovers a code of honor and higher purpose when he joins a select group of latter-day knights: the repo men. As a fledging apprentice, Otto slowly learns the ways of these high-caliber, overmedicated auto repossessors. And when a $20,000 bounty is placed on a mysterious missing car, Otto eludes the police, feds, religious cultists, and other repo men in a frantic search for this holy grail. Could one man's destiny lie in the back of a 1964 Chevy Malibu? Alex Cox's feature-film debut boasts a clever, satirical script that combines the larger-than-life edginess of urban L.A. with a bizarre array of science-fiction conspiracy theories. The film also features a strong soundtrack by an array of early 1980s punk and new wave bands and a terrific lead performance by Estevez.
One of the true-blue indie cult films from the early 1980s, Alex Cox's REPO MAN is a flick that's a whole helluva a lot of fun to revisit after twenty years away. (I remember seeing it when I was 14 and having not one single clue what the hell it was about.)
Though it does offer a somewhat traditional A to B to C plot construction, the beauty of REPO MAN lies in its strange sense of humor, hyper-realistically grungy characters, and wonderfully weird attention paid to lots of small, silly details.
The first half of the flick focuses mainly on young Otto (Emilio Estevez) as he learns the repo man ropes, but once he's settled in and the side characters start getting some attention, writer/director Alex Cox throws everything into the mix but the bathroom sink. The result is an intentionally offbeat, impressively restrained, and captivatingly strange little adventure that might look a little outdated today, but only if you're focusing solely on the surface.
For a seriously low-budget indie comedy from 1984, the flick sure looks pretty solid. Universal/Focus affords the film an anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) transfer, and it sure looks a heck of a lot better than it did on that scratchy old VHS tape!