“Let your life be your dream
Integrity, honesty, its too late for me
Don’t look back till your free to chase the morning”
From “Repo! The Genetic Opera”
Are you in the mood for a gorey cyber-punk rock opera in the not so distant future? Look no further than “Repo! The Genetic Opera”!
This film, which premiered in 2008, is an opera set in the 2050s. In a world where people’s organs can be harvested from their tombs in order to produce a street-version drug called Zydrate and can have their organs repossessed by the repo man if they don’t pay on time.
We follow this world through the eyes of 17-year-old Shilo — played by Alexa Vega, from “Spy Kids” fame — who, due to an unexplained illness, has been confined to her room for most of her life. Her father, Nathan, who is played by Anthony Steward Head, and is best known from “Buffy: the Vampire Slayer,” takes care of her, while working for the corporation that runs this deranged world, GeneCo. Shilo struggles to explore the world outside of her door, and the generational-spanning conflict between her father and Rotti Largo that will determine her future. All the while, a certain contract is about to be voided, and the repo man will have to step in and take care of the situation.
There are several familiar faces throughout the opera. Joan Jett appears in one of Shilo’s songs. Paris Hilton stars as one of the three children of the head of GeneCo., Rotti Largo who is played by another prolific stage star, Paul Sorvino. And the Graverobber that produces the street-version Zydrate drug, and one of the nicer characters, is played by Terrance Zdunich, who also wrote the screenplay as well as the series of short plays that the film is based on.
Each of the major characters have their own style of music when they are given a chance to shine. For example, Blind Mag, as played by Sarah Brightman, a prolific stage and music star since the early 1980s. Due to an unforeseen rule in her contract for a surgery conducted by Geneco to give her advanced eyes, She is an opera singer in the shows that GeneCo. produce to show to the masses worldwide. Her songs reflect that part of her well.
There is a lot of overlap when it comes to the songs in the film; a song sung by a character will have a line repeated in another song with a different context and sound. All of which helps make it more connected as a whole, as the story is connected to two different generations and the long lasting effects of several ill-advised choices.
Since this is a R-rated film, expect a lot of cursing. There is also some brief nudity, from the living and the dead. And as this involves one of the directors of the “Saw” series, there is a fair amount of gore that can be seen throughout the film.
This film can be found on Tubi, which is a free streaming service, as well as Amazon Prime, with the service or as a rental. It is also available for rental on other streaming services.