Repo Chick ★★

I used to love the films of Alex Cox (Repo Man in particular) but over the years I lost interest in the movies he was producing. If Repo Chick (which may or may not be part of the same universe as his most famous film, although he’ll never say due to rights ownership) is representative of his later work then it doesn’t look like I’ve missed a great deal.

As an experiment, Repo Chick is quite interesting. Shot over ten days using a RED camera and predominantly shot on a green screen soundstage, the film is a micro-budget feature with a distinctive style. Cox decides to accentuate the film’s artificiality. He doesn’t hide the green screen constraints and uses toy cars and dioramas to create a strange scale model universe. It’s a style that will no doubt divide opinion but I like the fact he tried something different and it is no doubt better than the more traditional alternative (particularly considering the tight budgetary constraints Cox was working with).

The fundamental problems arise in the story and the terrible script. Cinematic experiments are all well and good but it is much better if they’ve got a compelling story and interesting characters to work with first. Of course the whole film is a cartoonish slapdash fantasy so you expect that to carry over to the script but once you get over the novel style it becomes a genuine slog. The characters are larger than life but incredibly irritating too. It’s hard to spend more than ten minutes with them before you wish each one a painful death.

A failed experiment but at least Cox tried something different.