Set in the mid-1980s, Repo Man depicts world on the edge of control, where you’re just as likely to see an alien as a knitting policeman, where flying saucers carry people back in time to populate the earth, and a mysterious car boot holds something which incinerates all who open it. In fact, those are just some of the more mundane parts of this movie, but Repo Man is just that kind of film.
It’s a film about Los Angeles, about growing up and growing old, despair and destruction, nihilism and the meaning of life. Bud, played by Harry Dean Stanton, lectures Emilio Estevez’s character, Otto, “Nobody got a code to live by anymore…an ordinary person spends his life avoiding tense situations. A repo man spend his life getting into tense situations.” But one wonders how anyone could be expected to have a code on the mean streets of LA, or anywhere in eighties for that matter, when the threat of nuclear war was imminent.
Repo Man is also a film about choices, or the lack of them. Upon being offered a job as a repo man (repossession agent, for the uninitiated), Otto upends a can of soft drink on the office floor, “I ain’t gonna be no filthy repo man,” he spits.
“Too late honey,” says Bud’s secretary as she hands him a fistful of dollars, “you already are.”
All of this without mentioning that Repo Man was produced by Michael Nesmith from the band, The Monkees, or the soundtrack which is anchored by an incendiary opening track from Iggy Pop. It has weirdness baked into it’s DNA.
Repo Man will be showing on Thursday 18 May at 7.00pm in Drama in the Community Arts Centre at the Western Plains Cultural Centre, as part of Smokescreen’s Cult Season. Tickets are available at the door for $10 or a season passes are $38.