Repo Man

Director: Alex Cox
Screenwriters: Alex Cox

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


"The life of a repo man is always intense," junkyard philosopher Miller (Tracey Walter) tells young Otto (Emilio Estevez) in the cult-comedy classic Repo Man. Miller is just one of the colorful characters Otto meets when he goes to work for the Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation, a seedy Los Angeles company that repossesses cars. Miller is full of wise observations: "I do my best thinking on the bus," he says. "The more you drive, the less intelligent you are."
Alex Cox's debut film combines science fiction, punk culture, caper-film car chases, and black comedy into a unique genre of its own. Misfit Otto is adrift until Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) takes him under his wing and teaches him the repo man trade and philosophy of life. Meanwhile, a demented scientist trying to escape his past is driving around town in a Chevy Malibu that has a nasty habit of incinerating anyone who opens the trunk. After the authorities offer a ten-thousand-dollar reward, everyone is after the Malibu, including the nefarious Rodriguez brothers, a young woman named Leila (Olivia Barash) who's obsessed with aliens, and a policewoman with a metal hand (Susan Barnes).
Repo Man was one of the sleeper hits of 1984, and it's still fun and funky. Happy twentieth birthday, Repo Man.

— Barbara Bannon

Screening Details

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