Friday, 26 February 2010

The Repossession of Repo! The Genetic Opera

Repo Men, directed by Miguel Sapochnik and starring Jude Law, Liev Schreiber and Forest Whitaker, is soon to be released in the States. As with most high-budget films, it’s getting plenty of attention in the press, and some of that attention is wondering if the book on which it’s based – Repossession Mambo – was also the inspirations for the Darren Lynn Bousman-helmed Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Well, no. No, it wasn’t. Because Repo!’s been around since 1999, when Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich created the stage show. Repossession Mambo was written in 2009…while the film was shooting 2007-2008, roughly the same time that Repo! was shooting.

The myriad similarities between both texts have been better outlined elsewhere, by Spooky Dan, and this goes far beyond the set-up of ‘futuristic organs can be repossessed’. Director Darren Lynn Bousman has also exhaustively demonstrated the history of Repo!, lest any more ill-informed journalists fail to do even the most basic research into a film’s production history. Terrance Zdunich has also artfully explained why there’s nothing at all he, or anyone else involved with Repo! can do about the blatant plagiarism of their film. He also graciously describes what it’s like to have his creative baby attributed to someone else – pretty shitty, as one would imagine.

Everyone involved with Repo! has encouraged its understandably pissed-off fans to counter Repo Men by simply telling people about their fabulous little film. So, let me tell you something about Repo! The Genetic Opera – it’s a brilliant little film. It might not be wholly original itself – what the hell ever is, anymore? – but it sure is singular. It’s a gory, emotional, melodramatic, funny, futuristic rock opera. It stars actors, socialites and musicians. Fans of the film perform Shadowcasts, which involves putting on a stage version of the film, as it plays. Repo! has its cult status on its side, but that doesn’t excuse any claims that Repo! has anything at all to do with Repo Men.

In honour of Terrance Zdunich, Darren Smith, Darren Lynn Bousman and everyone else who worked on Repo!, I sure as hell won’t be going to see Repo Men*. I encourage anyone who does go see it, to check out Repo! The Genetic Opera, too. You might remember that film a lot longer than you will Repo Men.

*I should add, this is really quite annoying, as I would quite happily watch Jude Law in an action movie in any other circumstance!

1 comment:

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