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Our First Spy Review Of REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I have no idea what to make of this film. I admire Darren Bousman for making SAW films as a way of getting his own pet project financed, and I’m curious as hell. Passion-driven movies like this can either turn out to be brilliant personal little gems or indulgent bags of shit, but they’re almost always worth seeing on some level, even if it’s just to witness the hubris on display.

Harry, I just saw a screening of Repo! The Genetic Opera Tuesday night at the Winnetka 21 in Chatsworth. Thought I would share my thoughts. If you use this, please call me "Kesselrunner". Repo! The Genetic Opera is an immensely innovative film that explores a future world where transplant organs are financed for profit. At the center of this movie is GeneCo, a biotech company that not only finances organs, but also uses deadly force to repossess them from clients who fall behindon payments. A rock opera at its core, Repo is both visually stunning and musically brilliant. Poetic recitatives replace traditional dialog and connect the larger musical numbers. It is worth repeating that the music in this film is fantastic: 24 hours later, I am still humming the songs The cast of Repo is as talented as it is eclectic. Paul Sorvino is brilliant as the conniving GeneCo president,Rotti Largo, and his vocals are among the best in the film. The inimitable Sarah Brightman is phenomenal in her portrayal of opera singer Blind Mag. Everything from her voice to her appearance is beautiful. Spy-Kid-turned-broadway-star Alexa Vega shines as 17-year-old Shilo Wallace, our unsuspecting heroine. Anthony Head, who some will remember as Giles from Buffy the Vampire, gives an enormous performance as Shilo's overprotective (albeit well-meaning), father, Nathan Wallace/Repo Man. I love the way Head changes the texture of his voice to illustrate the internal "Jeckle / Hyde" conflict plaguing his character. As Nathan, Head sings with a straight, pure tone but as Repo Man his voice takes on a rough, gravely quality. Bill Moseley and Kevin "Ogre" Ogilvie portray Rotti Largo's degenerate sons. Moseley plays the temperamental and violent Luigi. Ogilvie, who some might know from the band Silly Puppy, is amazing as the narcissistic, oversexed, face-stealing Pavi. Everything about his character is hilariously over-the-top. Frankly, I wish I could have seen more of him in this film. And then there is Paris Hilton, whose performance is one of the more shocking aspect of this film. Simply put, Paris Hilton is actually quite good. Not only do her vocals hold their own in the company of well seasoned performers like Brightman, but her acting is particularly impressive. Hilton appears as Rotti Largo's spoiled, drug addicted, image-obsessed daughter, Amber Sweet. Amber, however, is not a stagnant character. In a scene where Amber's face is horribly disfigured in a botched surgery, Hilton gives us subtle glimpses of Amber's vulnerability, though not in an overt or obvious way. I can't believe I am saying this, but Hilton delivers a nuanced performance, slowly peeling away Amber's layers (literally and figuratively) to ultimately reveal a humanity that made me feel strangely empathetic. I have no doubt that this is a breakthrough performance for Hilton. Kudos to co-writers/composers Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich (who, it is worth mentioning, gives one hell of a performance as GraveRobber - a sinister yet heroic drug dealer who functions as a narrator of sorts throughout the film) for creating such a deliciously unique and highly entertaining show, Director Darren Lynn Bousman also deserves praise for delivering a cohesive translation of a stage show to the big screen. Where the plot would have otherwise been lost in translation, Bousman seamlessly incorporates a graphic novel inspired prologue and digitally animated elements to give context to Smith and Zdunich's work. What impresses me the most about Repo is that over the past day or so I've caught myself thinking more and more about this film. I can't wait to see it again, And again. There is something in this film for everyone, elements that can be enjoyed by a vastly diverse audience. It has all the makings of a cult-classic. Repo! The Genetic Opera is a new breed of rock opera, perhaps a genre all its own. At a time when films seem to be growing less original by the day, Repo! The Genetic Opera is a welcome silver lining. -Kesselrunner
Readers Talkback
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  • March 9, 2008, 11:09 p.m. CST

    so many updates

    by vadakinX

  • March 9, 2008, 11:10 p.m. CST


    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

  • March 9, 2008, 11:10 p.m. CST

    so little time

    by vadakinX

    three firsts in a row...ok maybe i do care haha.What's with all the news coming in at once anyway?

  • March 9, 2008, 11:11 p.m. CST

    Paris Hilton

    by Horace Cox

    How appropriate she's in a film about organs considering she's an expert on them (literally).

  • March 9, 2008, 11:15 p.m. CST

    It's SKINNY Puppy...

    by Megalomatthew

    Not fucking Silly Puppy

  • March 9, 2008, 11:22 p.m. CST


    by Cakeocalypse

    Do I smell a plant?

  • March 9, 2008, 11:28 p.m. CST

    I never say this but....PLANT!

    by IndustryKiller!

    Or just your typical overeager test screening audience member. Either one is completely untrustworthy.

  • March 9, 2008, 11:30 p.m. CST


    by Super Nintendo Chalmers

    I've never been one to call plant, but this guy just seriously told us that Paris Hilton really sold the character's vulnerability and has a good singing voice. And KesselRunner? Kind of a generic geeky nickname, no?

  • March 9, 2008, 11:44 p.m. CST


    by johnnykool

    1. Paris Hilton cannot act. <p>2. Paris Hilton cannot sing. <p>3. Paris Hilton cannot act.

  • March 9, 2008, 11:57 p.m. CST

    I'm choking on the chlorophyll here...

    by Theta

    This stinks of marketroid. Seriously, why do you guys run reviews like this anymore? That said, the movie probably is terrible, but I really can't turn down a splatter flick/rock opera features Giles, the girl from Spy Kids, Andrew Lloyd Weber's ex, and an annoying heiress. It's probably just bad enough to be entertaining.

  • March 10, 2008, 12:08 a.m. CST

    yeah, I'm going to second that emotion...

    by ImMorganFreeman

    ...big leafy green plant.

  • March 10, 2008, 12:10 a.m. CST

    i've seen it too

    by morrowman

    i saw it on Tuesday as well. It actually was good. Different as hell. But good - and yes - dare I say Paris held her own.

  • March 10, 2008, 12:34 a.m. CST

    I hate to say it...

    by phool2056

    It might be a good movie, but the guy's syntax really makes the review sound like promotional material. The way the performances are described in particular. I'll definitely be there to see it, but mostly just because I'm a huge Buffy fan and I felt robbed of Anthony Head musical performances when I saw that teasing moment in Sweeney Todd.

  • March 10, 2008, 12:39 a.m. CST

    Screams "Look how different we are!"

    by Emperor_was_a_jerk

    I get tired of movies that are too clever for their own good. Even the title says "We are weird, cool and different.". It all sounds like just a bit much.

  • March 10, 2008, 12:40 a.m. CST


    by RpgSama

    PLANTACIOUS FANTASTICUS FANTABULOSUS, PLANT!!!. i mean c'mon nuanced performance from paris hilton, who can actually believe that, how can you write that and not laugh...

  • March 10, 2008, 12:44 a.m. CST

    chatsworth screening

    by morrowman

    i actually thought I was going into see a horror flick, thats how they were recruiting it. Didn't know much, if anything about it before. It was like a punch in the face and took time getting use to. can't really compare it to anything - not even Rocky Horror. It's just different. All the actors were great though - there really wasn't a bad performance in my unexpert opinion.

  • March 10, 2008, 1:10 a.m. CST

    could be the most retarded movie ever

    by Edwoodfan

    The movie is probably one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I attended the screening as well with some college friends. This was the first time I have ever attended an advanced/special screening where the entire theater was not full ( at least three rows empty in the Pacific Theater as well as countless seats in between people) and a plethora of people continued to leave the movie before it ever ended (fifteen is how many I saw leave my side). This is a horrible attempt to make a modern day Rocky Horror and is an utter piece of crap. The movie was advertised Rocky Horror meets Blade Runner and it does remind you of many aspects, but it's really a far-stretch of the imagination. I wanted to see the movie because of the intriguing cast assembled with Paul Sorvino, Anthony Head, Paris Hilton, Alexa Vega, and Bill Moseley and because I was curious to see how they would pull off a Horror-Opera. First off, it fails to have any catchy tunes or musical numbers that anyone could hum to or recall after the movie theater. For crying out loud, Sweeney Todd had numerous songs that I am sure if you have seen the movie you can recall and possibly recite. Absoultely zero. Also they have assembled the worst singers for a "musical", but Paris Hilton, Sarah Brightman and Anthony Head actually do an excllent job. Only because they have actual experince with Brightman an opera singer, Head having done musical theater and Paris for her dubious pop alubm. Only those three seemed to be perfectly cast and capable of singing. There is no dialogue and it's sing-talking set up against metal music. Just imagine a character walking through a grave yard sing-talking with slayer playing in the background and that's not too far off from Repo! The Genetic Opera. All the music is way too loud and heavy for a "musical" even for a "horror musical." Nothing works and the only song that is good, WARNING SPOLIER, has Alexa Vega singing about being sixteen like a pop star literally (she transforms before your eyes)with Joan Jett popping up playing guitar in her room. Talk about freaking retarded and absurd. Once you have seen it, you will definitely be talking about, but it's more likely you will be talking about how could they possible have made a modern day Plan 9 meets The Apple, but Actually bad. This isn't one of those Good Bad movies like the aforemntioned, but a movie you would walk out of the theater as some "lucky" people were and demand your money back. This is definitely unique and very original, but maybe possibly the most retarded movie ever made! I would only recommend to see this movie just to see how terrible it really is.

  • March 10, 2008, 2:04 a.m. CST

    I doubt it's a plant

    by BitterMan23

    Lionsgate made 3 well known horror sites take down their reviews (all positive) because they WANT the movie to fail. If they had their way, Edwoodfan's review would be the majority rule, not a minority. LG doesn't want to spend the dough to market/release it (because they know it's not going to make 80 million like the Saw sequels), so they'd rather bury it, and good word of mouth would make it harder for them to do so.<br><br> It's true people walked out, but they also probably thought they were seeing Saw 5. The other reviews (on IMDb, and before they were removed, Bloody Disgusting, ShockTillYouDrop, and Horror Movie A Day) were all positive. So if this guy's a plant, he's not doing it on the studio's behalf, that's for damn sure.

  • March 10, 2008, 2:20 a.m. CST

    Have to weigh in

    by robertfilm

    I usually just read posts, but I had to create an account to weigh in on this. I've seen this this movie too. And it will most surely polarize people. Love it or Hate it. It is so unlike anything out there it's easy to write the movie off as just bad. I personally liked it. But it is the type of movie that one could easily hate. Those are always my favorite type of movies though, ones that cause people to hate it with a passion -or- stand behind it completely.

  • March 10, 2008, 2:28 a.m. CST

    Repo The Shitty Opera

    by skywalkerfamily

    I forgot what I was writing about. Sorry.

  • March 10, 2008, 2:36 a.m. CST

    The life of a repo man is always intense...

    by Sledge Hammer

    A lotta people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a buncha unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on toppa everything. Give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinkin' about Paris Hilton. Suddenly someone'll say, like, skank, or slut, or talentless skank slut out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness.

  • March 10, 2008, 6:50 a.m. CST

    silly puppy!!!!!

    by andy kaufman

    you rotten cunt. its a opera with paris hilton in it. i will never see it. fucking silly puppy. orge should be ashamed.

  • March 10, 2008, 6:58 a.m. CST


    by Darth_Kaos

    Come on, Paris Hilton good? Get tha fuck outta here!

  • March 10, 2008, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Planty McPlantplant

    by Raindog789

    ...from Plantsville. Just off Plantation Blvd on the corner of Fern and Cypress. Oh and by the way, "Silly Puppy" is the greatest band name ever. Too bad it's Skinny Puppy...ya fucking jerkoff. "Silly Puppy" buttery Jesus you can't make shit up.

  • March 10, 2008, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Would a Plant

    by BigFo

    ...really say that Paris Hilton gave a nuanced performance? I think plants are smarter than that.

  • March 10, 2008, 9:07 a.m. CST


    by roninhobbit

    1) Never trust a review without a single negative thing to say. 2) Never trust a review that says that Paris Hilton delivers a NUANCED FUCKING PERFORMANCE.

  • March 10, 2008, 9:33 a.m. CST


    by DonnieDorko

    I want to be interested in this but can't get over the fact how extremely stupid it sounds. And will probably be dragging endlessley based on one single gimmick. But I hope I'm wrong or I'm gonna hurt somebody.

  • March 10, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Not a plant

    by robertfilm

    plants are not this stupid - just read the way it's written. it doesn't sound like a plant - it sounds like a book review or book report. on top of seeing the movie personally - I have seen other positive reviews online from credible sources.

  • March 10, 2008, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Other screenings?

    by The Addict

    Anyone know of any other screenings coming up? I'm not going to judge until I see it for myself, and I'd love to do it for free rather than shell out $11.

  • March 10, 2008, 12:53 p.m. CST

    your mom's a plant

    by kesselrunner

    To all you haters - have you ever gone into a movie WITH AN OPEN MIND, and then been pleasantly surprised by how much you cared about it afterwards? IndustrialKiller!, thanks for calling it likes you sees it: perhaps I'm just an over-eager audience member, but this "review" was not a plant. I'm not big into horror (I went to see it because I've been following Sarah Brightman since I first heard her sing in "Phantom" and knew she was in it), but this was not a horror movie. I'm a classically trained music student with a background in opera. I'm sorry I got Ogre's band name wrong, but SKINNY Puppy has never been on my radar before. That being said, take my "review" however you want... Is it a contrived strategic message, or is it just some fan gushing about something that made them excited? If it's the latter, then fine. I'm biased, and you don't have to read it. OH WAIT, you already did.

  • March 10, 2008, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Paris Hilton?

    by Toulon

    Sorry, but I now officially refuse to contribute any of my time or money to this film, simply for her being involved . . . she may very well be one of the most worthless people walking the face of the earth. Too bad, too, as I was into seeing this film right up to this point.

  • March 10, 2008, 1:20 p.m. CST

    Paris Hilton is always acting

    by Quin the Eskimo

    now shes acting at acting. Blech.

  • March 10, 2008, 1:33 p.m. CST


    by roninhobbit

    Fine. If you're not a plant, tell us something that didn't work in the movie. Or is this the most perfect cinematic creation in history?

  • March 10, 2008, 2 p.m. CST

    This sounds like it was written...

    by mbeemer

    by Paris Hilton's publicist.

  • March 10, 2008, 2:47 p.m. CST

    And because it cant be said enough: PLANT!!

    by purplepurple

    That, or a pasionate Paris Hilton fan. Dont know which is worse.

  • March 10, 2008, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Jee what happened to all the shitty Texas film

    by skywalkerfamily

    festival articles?

  • March 10, 2008, 3:49 p.m. CST


    by kesselrunner

    It WASN'T perfect, but it made me very excited - as evidenced by what I wrote. So, for YOU, here are my criticisms: 1) It was a bit violent for someone like me who loved the music and characters but not the gore, 2) I wish I had had an opportunity to buy the CD before I saw the movie. I like to be familiar with the music before I see ANY show, so I can experience all the senses at the same time. Unfortunately, with REPO, I didn't know the lyrics and had some trouble understanding some of the lines because there was so much going on. Finally, I should have mentioned that this movie is NOT for everyone. It was so over the top and out there that audience members are either going to be IN or OUT. I happen to be IN. I look forward to hearing other viewers' perspectives when the movie comes out... And, P.S., I do not work for Paris Hilton, nor do I support her in other projects. She was a good singer and actress in this movie, and I stand by my statements. Once again, I went in with an open mind and didn't see her as Paris Hilton, but rather as Amber Sweet.

  • March 10, 2008, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Thats not a plant, thats a press release.

    by Tourist

    Still sounds interesting and worth checking out as a cult item, fo sho.

  • March 10, 2008, 4:17 p.m. CST

    LOL at the critcisms...

    by Tourist

    ...My only critcism was that it was TOO GOOD and there wasn't enough merchandise available! I had no idea Sarah Brightman fans had any sort of demographic on AICN.

  • July 1, 2008, 3:28 a.m. CST

    Don't believe a word of it...

    by antiplanterinsider

    Kesselrunner is an obvious plant with such ridiculously positive praise for a confused and the musically uninspired film. When you watch this movie, it'll become clear within the first two songs that Darren has lost his direction and couldn't possibly have saved it in the editing room. It's a cool idea, but the problem begins early with the music. It's garbled and just doesn't stick with you in a good way. If you're gonna make a musical, you'd better be damn sure the music is catchy and clearly tells your story. The songs in this movie are neither. The graphic novel vignettes are an excellent idea and look great, but they are far too long and attempt to explain narrative that should've been told within the live action. There's far too much going on and it was difficult, if not annoying, to figure out what was happening. It's embarrassing to see such wonderful talents like Sarah Brightman and Paul Sorvino wasted on this wannabe Rocky Horror re-invention. You get the impression this was a rushed production based on a loose idea to turn the play into a musical. If they had taken their time and hired some experienced musical writers, and Darren and the producers had planned out some carefully choreographed camerawork instead of the ("let's just throw this on the Steadycam and it'll be fine" mindset), this could've been a slick film. But perhaps the studio pushed the filmmakers to meet a certain release date? Regardless, musicals are not cheap horror films that can rushed through the process. They need to be inspired. I hope they all learned their lesson.