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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 03.16.11] movie review scifi comedy

Year: 2011
Directors: Alex Cox
Writers: Alex Cox
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Amazon: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 7 out of 10

In Repo Chick, British avanteur Alex Cox substitutes the grimmy, punk-rock LA of the early 80s with a new "pink-rock" vision to create a sequel-in-spirit to his first underground hit, Repo Man. Yes people I am as stunned as you are, but Repo Chick is NOT the epic misstep that the film's trailer made it out to be, in fact quite the opposite. Repo Chick may not consistently entertain but it's a wildly unique, artful vision by a director who is so unafraid to take risks that he continues to be a relevant force in outsider cinema.

If 80s punk-rock counter culture was about slackers and burnouts desperate to avoid the mainstream, then today's "pink-rock" is about slackers and burnouts obsessed with buying into it. In Cox's pessimistic view, today's youth are dimwitted glamouratis who worship no-work-and-all-play, keep really busy doing nothing at all (everyone's a designer and a reality star, don't you know?) and have delusions of being a Gaga. In this, Cox has at least rocketed his Repo meme 30 years into the future and it's interesting to see him play with old territory in a totally new world.

Repo Chick was shot entirely against green screens, but instead of aiming for photo-real (a mistake most indie films make) Cox uses the technique as a canvas to create a toyetic, plastic environment befitting his concept. It's certainly something we've never seen before in a feature film. The characters live inside photographs and plastic Barbie Dream Homes, drive cardboard cars along line drawn roads while splashes of dark paint splatter the sky. It's too bad most people will just cry foul, claiming "it's so fake" or "it's so cheap" when really, if you take the piece as a whole, it's pretty damn genius. Was it done as a way to keep the cost down? Most probably. But Cox uses it to great thematic advantage.

Props also to actress Jaclyn Jonet who plays Pixie, (ie. Repo Chick). She's another factor I was pretty worried about, but she proves to have a genuine flair for comedy and is a joy to watch on screen. In fact a huge reason the film worked for me as well as it did came down to the actors, most of which you'd recognize. Miguel Sandoval (Entourage) Rosanna Arquette (Pulp Fiction), Alex Feldman (The Collector) all bring something odd and off kilter to the table. Some play the humour a little broadly, but everyone is obviously having lot of fun on this one.

Like all great art, Repo Chick is a flawed beast that will probably lose you in parts if it doesn't repel you right off the bat. It certainly lost me at times, particularly midway through when it became about vegan terrorists wanting to ban golf in America or something(?). The brilliance Cox captures in the first act slowly gives way to some plot meanderings and it's perhaps a bit too theatrical and might be brimming with too many ideas and characters than it can handle. But, there's no denying the film aims to be something totally mad that exists wholly outside the norm; as if Cox captured insanity in a bottle, then shook it up with pink spray paint and sprayed it out on screen. We rarely see madness like this in independent movies anymore and I think that's what I loved most about Repo Chick.

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John (11 years ago) Reply

VFX trailers about it:

but, 7 out of 10, puts some recent movies you actually reviewed honestly, at certain doubt, if this is quality 7.
You might have enjoyed it no doubt, but a 7 here is IMO too much in comparison to a rating 7 you gave to a more then a few Dick adaptations.


agentorange (11 years ago) Reply

Not sure I like your implication that I didn't review this film honestly. I think I outline my reasons for giving it a 7 above.

Different sorts of films, different criteria is all.


Diggler (11 years ago) Reply

I have been avoiding this film due to the horrendous trailers. After reading your review, I just may give it a try.


Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

This is not "bad"... but it's not all that good either.

I agree with the review, but still wouldn't give it quite a high number. Maybe 6.


Francis Darko (11 years ago) Reply

I've seen this movie weeks ago and being a Alex Cox fan, This is highly enjoyable. It may not be a sequel to Repo Men but it does keep the spiritual sequel tone. I'm the Recommender And Consider This Recommended.


jokeharmonica (7 years ago) Reply

i bought this movie and the dvd said it was not to be sold i contacted the seller and he said he was not aware of it and refunded my money anyway. i asked my local cinema where i met him and got him to sign my repo man dvd he told me about his other works and books and i bought a good amount and i really am in line with pushing the meme forward he does.


Calvin (11 years ago) Reply

I agree. It's a very different film, but being different does not mean it's a bad film. Alex Cox is brilliant making Repo Chick in a toy like environment. He delivers a funny and smart message. I think the film will eventually develop a cult following.


Derek Paterson (11 years ago) Reply

Saw the film base on your review. It's different, that's for sure, but not a bad film. There were some funny moments. I was mesmerized by the how fake everything intentionally looked. Fake cars, homes, buildings...etc. I think a 7 rating or high 6 is accurate.

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