THE GHOST (15, 128 mins) 6/10
Released: April 16 (UK & Ireland)
Our ageing population makes ever greater demands on the state for medical care as our life expectancy increases steadily.
The utopian dream of a National Health Service struggles to cope and inevitably, patients are forced to consider private treatment to avoid the weeks if not months of distress.
Based on the novel The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia, Repo Men is a futuristic thriller which takes that demand for longer, fuller lives to its chilling conclusion.
Men, women and children pay to stay alive, and when their credit runs out, the conglomerates which produce artificial organs take back their miracle goods and give them instead to customers with a healthier bank balance.
Survival of the richest.
Miguel Sapochnik’s film centres on a powerful organisation called The Union, which is able to provide expensive, artificial organs for a five-figure sum.
Patients take out high interest loans to cover the cost and if they fall behind three months with repayments, repossession men such as Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whitaker) arrive unannounced to knock the donor unconscious with a stun gun then retrieve the valuable organ.
Remy’s work causes conflict with his wife Carol (Carice Van Houten) and young son Peter (Chandler Canterbury), so he considers a transfer to the sales team.
For his final job, he is contracted to retrieve an organ from a famous musician (RZA) but the procedure goes wrong and Remy ends up in hospital requiring an artificial heart.
"You owe it to your family. You owe it to yourself," smarms Union manager Frank (Liev Schreiber).
Unable to meet interest rates of almost 20%, Remy falls behind with repayments and pleads for the clemency he never showed any of his targets.
"Take me out of your system," begs Remy.
"Give me your heart," barks Frank.
Marked for death, Remy goes on the run for his life and he meets singer Beth (Alice Braga), whose body is riddled with artificial organs and joints.
Together, they attempt to bring down The Union.
Repo Men delights in scenes of gore as Remy and Jake scythe open debtors and rip various organs from their lifeless bodies.
Law convinces as a heartless servant of corporate fat cats but there’s scant emotion in his performance and the romance with Braga’s rebel sparks to life in a blink of an eye after Remy has begged forgiveness from his wife.
Oscar winner Whitaker perspires furiously as he tries to work out why he signed up to such substandard genre fare.
Action scenes are heavy on slow motion to capture arcing arterial spray as Remy takes a hammer, hacksaw and knife to his pursuers.
A final reel twist prolongs our boredom.