Repo Man

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Alex Cox

REVIEWED: 11-30-98

Of all the low-budget films to come out of the Eighties, Repo Man, Alex Cox's dark cult comedy about Eighties urban sprawl and alien paranoia, is one of the better ones. Emilio Estevez stars in one of his earliest roles as Otto Parts, your modern apocalyptic teen up to his armpits in drugs, sex, and parental neglect. He soon finds a way out through Bud (Stanton), an ace repo man, who gives him a job and teaches him the ways of the car repossessing trade. The two wander through the guts of L.A. in search of a '64 Chevy Malibu, priced at 50 thousand dollars, and run into a cast of bizarre street characters: feds, girls in distress, a lobotomized nuclear physicist, and really, really dumb criminals. Even though Repo Man has the look of a Hill Street Blues episode, it is clever enough to keep you watching, throwing in a laugh every so often. Estevez gives one of the best performances of his career, honing his acting skills as a punk white boy just in time for his role in Coppola's The Outsiders, released later that year. Cox, who wrote and directed the film, creates a strange but hilarious view of our culture, a brilliant satire on modern society. He went on to direct three films after Repo Man, including his acclaimed second film Sid and Nancy, the brutal, true tale of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious and his love affair with Nancy Spungen. Cox then followed with two inept and sub-par films, Walker and Straight to Hell, the direction his career went shortly after. But Repo Man will -- and should -- always be remembered as his masterpiece, of sorts, and deserves the same respect and attention given to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and This Is Spinal Tap, two films that define the cult category.

--Eli Kooris

Other Films by Alex Cox
Highway Patrolman

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