Revisit Repo: the genetic opera

Earlier I posted a preview of what's to come - and it's finally out (well, not in the UK, but released in the US). In an interview on 411, the director Darren Lynn Bousman (of Saw fame) tells a bit about the film, "it's a niche movie, and it's not going to be for everyone. But for those that it's for, I think they're going to embrace it and love it." If you get a chance to hear some of the music you'll understand immediately the draw it has with Heavy Metal, Grunge/Goth and other like genre's - although there are certainly some elements that have Lloyd-Webber like "operatic" qualities - numerous people comment on how Sarah Brightman features in the soundtrack. The reviews in iTunes are flattering, certainly.

J. Hoberman of the Village Voice says, "It's also entirely sung through, mainly in a persistent belting whine," with lots of gore and some odd bits of humor. The climax comes when the entire cast converges on the local opera house, "West Side Story–style. This is Brightman's big scene, and Phantom of the Opera notwithstanding, Andrew Lloyd Webber's erstwhile muse has never seemed more in her element. Singing an Italian aria in fake snow, she blinds herself at the end to wind up impaled on the set."

Nick Pinkerton of indieWire was not near so kind, "Sorvino, it will surprise many to learn, has a handsome tenor--the rest of the cast range from gamely tuneless (Hilton) to doing that insidious Sprechgesang monotone familiar from any number of goth-rock acts. The tunesmithing is functional, the orchestral preset mostly variations on Front 242 stomp." I tend to agree with the last bit feeling the orchestration seems to be one of two variations - loud/pounding, soft/melodic.

Dino Lull of Metro Spirit gives a true fans review, "Thick with layers and slathered with symphonic harmonies and reverb-filled noise, Repo! The Genetic Opera defies easy categorization. Some of the songs are pulse-pounding metalcore in the vein of Korn while others delve into the soft, sweet vocal style of Avril Lavigne." I guess I'm just not a fan because I went through the album twice today looking for these nuances and they escaped me (either that or I am not completely deaf - more the grateful for it).

I don't mean to be overly harsh, there are plenty of elements I like about the music and I will certainly go to the film when it comes to the UK. It just doesn't have the depth I think it deserves, but then, it's aiming at a comic book generation, with a Nintendo attention span (that isn't necessarily a slur as some game addicts can play endlessly) by a director famed for gore and blood. The film will be successful, perhaps not as successful as the producers might like, but profit is profit. In the end I think you'll see more films/musicals/operas like this. Whether they take to the stage??? yea, I rather doubt it will happen any time soon. We're still getting over the trans-morphing of The Fly.


I stand corrected, according to an interview in ifMagazine Repo was a stage production first - so it's already been there. However, it was a small production and in many ways a testing ground for what would become the film.


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