Film: Repo! The Genetic Opera
Your designer heart still beats with common blood.
And what if you could have genetic perfection?
Would you change who you are, if you could?Repo! The Genetic Opera
is a 2008 opera film. It's written and composed by Terrance Zdunich and Darren Smith, and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (of Saw 2, 3
fame). The film is based on their play of the same name. It's a gory, dystopian and ultimately very moving Black Comedy
that never takes itself too
seriously. Widely known and loved for its WTH, Casting Agency?
(see below) and its lush soundtrack, the film has become a modern cult classic. It's also an actual
opera: nearly every line of dialogue is sung, and the story is one continuous musical number.
In the not too distant future
, an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Panic erupts and scientists feverishly make plans for a massive organ harvest. Out of the tragedy, GeneCo, a multi-billion dollar biotech company, emerges. GeneCo provides organ transplantation for a profit. In addition to financing options, GeneCo reserves the right to implement default remedies, including repossession. For those who can't keep up with their organ payments, collection is the responsibility of organ repo men
: skilled assassins contracted by GeneCo, ordered to recover GeneCo's property by any means necessary.
At the heart of the story is Shilo Wallace
, a 17-year-old girl with a rare blood disease.
Shilo has been kept locked up and protected in her house, where she's guarded from the outside world by her father, Nathan Wallace
. While Shilo struggles with her wish to leave the house and experience the outside world, Nathan struggles with his secret job as a Repo Man, and more specifically, his next target, a woman named Blind Mag. Blind Mag, an opera singer bound by contract to GeneCo, was a friend of Nathan's now-deceased wife, and is Shilo's godmother.
The Largo family consists of GeneCo president Rotti
, his daughter Amber Sweet
, and his two sons Luigi
. Rotti is dying, and the three siblings bicker and fight
about who is to take the role as head of GeneCo. But, disappointed with his own children, Rotti takes an interest in Shilo...Repo! The Genetic Opera
's soundtrack, overseen by producer and X Japan
drummer Yoshiki Hayashi
, became available on September 30th, 2008, and the film was given a limited release of ten theatres by Lionsgate Films on November 7, 2008. Theatres showing it sold out consistently, and between showings at film festivals and clips and music released online, Repo!
has developed a cult following, with some calling it the The Rocky Horror Picture Show
of the new millennium. Fans from several countries have been petitioning Lionsgate for a wider release.
"Won" one award at the Razzies in 2009 — basically, for featuring Paris Hilton
You can find the official site at http://www.repo-opera.com
Brought to you by the WTH, Casting Agency?
, it stars:
- Alexa Vega as Shilo Wallace, a rebellious teenager confined to her room due to the blood disorder she inherited from her mother.
- Anthony Stewart Head as Nathan Wallace, father to Shilo and a widower, having lost his wife Marni in childbirth. He doubles as a legal assassin known as the Repo Man.
- Sarah Brightman as Blind Mag, born blind but given the ability to see by GeneCo at the price of having to sing for the GeneCo Opera. She is marked for repossession and she is set to deliver her final performance for the company.
- Paul Sorvino as Rotti Largo, the dying president of GeneCo, looking for a worthy heir.
- Paris Hilton as Amber Sweet, Rotti's daughter. She's addicted to surgery and to Zydrate, a euphoric painkiller, which she obtains illegally from Grave-Robber. Considers herself Mag's rival (the feeling is not mutual). Paris was never considered for the role, was almost laughed out when she tried to audition, forced herself into an audition anyway and showed up dressed as Amber, and promptly got the part when the creators realized she was awesome at it.
- Bill Moseley as Luigi Largo, Rotti's oldest son, who likes stabbing people. Considers himself the brains of the Largo family. Usually seen wearing an ascot, and accompanied by a quivering assistant holding up shirts for him to rip through.
- Nivek Ogre as Pavi Largo, the younger son of Rotti. A vain, dim-witted, effeminate rapist and womanizer who wears women's faces as masks.
- Terrance Zdunich as the
script writer Grave-Robber, who acts as the film's Greek chorus: a Zydrate-peddler with connections to Amber, sexually and as a dealer.
Not to be confused with Alex Cox's Cult Classic
1984 comedy Repo Man
, or its 2009 spiritual sequel Repo Chick
, and definitely
not to be confused with the 2010 Jude Law film Repo Men
, which is based on the 2009 novel, Repossession Mambo
. Confused yet? You should be.
This film provides examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The film is actually an adaptation of a stage play (or rather, a series of stage plays). Director commentaries and the like reveal several cut scenes that either added little to the story, or stretched Willing Suspension of Disbelief a bit too far, even for a movie as campy as this.
- The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Mostly averted; even though most of Grave-Robber's songs are directly about Zydrate and the dealing thereof, his attitude is at best sardonic and at worst flat-out disgusted with the people he serves. Particularly notable is that he never encourages Shilo to try it. However, in the original stage play he behaves differently.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Amber Sweet has a thing for Grave-Robber, and, it's implied, for Luigi, both indisputably 'bad' boys.
Ask a Gentern who they prefer
10 out of 9 will say the Pavi
The most dashing, panty-snatching
I will leave your diapers dripping
- All-Knowing Singing Narrator: The Graverobber.
- All Part of the Show: Blind Mag's onstage death during the Genetic Opera, as well as the conflict between Nathan, Shilo, and Rotti. Heck, pretty much everything that happens in the Genetic Opera can fall under this trope. Indeed, the announcer at the the opera actually uses these exact words while calming the audience.
- All Take and No Give: Amber to Rotti.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Zydrate, and some of the organ transplants (Mark It Up suggests GeneCo provides brain transplants, for instance).
- Arc Words: You're going to hear the word "genetics" a lot in this film.
- "The perfect life," repeatedly during the comic scenes, usually right before revealing how that life went south.
- Art Shift: Some flashbacks are told in the form of a comic book rather than live action.
- Artistic License Ė Biology:
- A powerful "quick, clean, and pure" drug can be extracted from a corpse's brain by sticking a syringe up the corpse's nose...wait, what? Or the idea that any part of the nervous system can be replaced...
- According to early interviews, Zydrate was discovered when doctors searched for a chemical reason for near-death experiences, then made a synthetic version of the compound they discovered for use in surgery.
- Aside Glance: Rotti gives a small one when he's in the limo speaking with Shilo, as he misses his cue slightly.
- At the Opera Tonight: Trope Namer. There are several performances at the in-story opera, but only two of them are plot-relevant: Blind Mag's farewell performance, and Amber's song during which her face comes off about ten seconds in before she's booed off. Much more important are the things going on backstage.
- Audience Participation: The shadowcast productions of this show encourage this to varying degrees. Exactly how they do this varies depending upon the cast.
- Most shadowcasts encourage the audience to stand up and sing during certain key songs, particularly We Started This Op'ra Shit!
- It is also common to have the audience read along with text in the comic-book exposition sequences.
- Various props are waved about or thrown during the show. These vary from cast to cast but generally include:
- Panties - thrown when Pavi snatches the Panties from the Genterns and throws them at Luigi.
- Neon Blue Glowsticks - waved during Zydrate Anatomy.
- Toy Gold Coins - thrown at Rotti as he sings Gold.
- Tampons - thrown at Shilo after she collapses and wakes up in a pool of blood at the start of Shilo Turns Against Rotti.
- There's also a number of Mystery Science Theater 3000-style callbacks, which vary from cast to cast. For example:
Doctor: "It's spreading rapidly."
AP: "Like Amber's legs!"
"It's the 21st Century..." (Beat
(during the (Beat
) "What's your favorite Goth band?!"
(Blimp advertising Opera flies past)
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: A surprisingly understated, but still powerful moment at the end, when Amber takes over the company.
- Ax-Crazy: Luigi Largo, who basically walks around with a flask and a knife, drinking and stabbing those who get in his way.
- Bastard Understudy: Amber, Luigi and Pavi as a subversion Rotti tries to set them up to follow in his footsteps, but it doesn't quite work out. Later played straight with Amber proving she really is her father's daughter by convincing her brothers to back her as she takes over GeneCo, shunting Rotti's chosen heir aside.
- Battle Butler: Rotti's henchgirls as a female example.
- The Beautiful Elite: Pavi and Amber fit the evil version of this trope. At least Pavi thinks he does.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Shilo wishes that Nathan would "go and die". Not ten minutes later, he does exactly that. Oops.
- The Bechdel Test: Passes. Shilo and Blind Mag meet and discuss Shilo's mother, and life in general. Amber and Mag have a two-sentence discussion where they bicker about who's gonna be Gene Co's singer once Mag retires. Shilo and Amber meet in 'Zydrate Anatomy' and Amber gloats that Shilo's idol, Mag, will be dead soon and that it's Amber's turn to take the spotlight.
- Berserk Button: Do not mess with the Repo Man's daughter. Also, do NOT offer Luigi decaf coffee. ...or regular coffee. Actually, just stay away from him.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Nathan's song Let the Monster Rise.
- Big Bad: Rotti Largo.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Largos come very close to epitomizing this trope.
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: "Seventeen" - the cinematography noticeably changes, and Shilo's goth dress replaced by a punk getup, for a rockstar fantasy where her bedroom becomes a stage, with a crowd barging in, dancing stuffed animals and skeletons, and Joan Jett on guitar. This is the only time in the film a musical number is accompanied by something other than either literal action or a flashback.
- Bio-Augmentation: GeneCo sells a realistic version of this.
- Bittersweet Ending: Though Nathan dies, Shilo is now free from her captivity.
- Black Comedy Rape: Luigi is a murderer with anger management issues. Pavi is a rapist who wears women's faces as masks. And they're the comic relief characters.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Luigi has a small hidden one that he uses to stab Nathan in the finale.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Amber is all three throughout the film (though her red wigs don't read as red to some people, due to the film's filtering.)
- Blood Is the New Black: See that movie poster in the upper right? The Repo Man uniform is actually black, not blood-red; This trope is the most likely explanation for the different color in the poster.
- Bloody Hilarious: Mark It Up, and Thankless Job. The Repo Man seems to have a lot of fun despite having a "thankless job."
- Blue Orange Contrast: used to great effect in the graveyard scene.
- Bodyguard Babes: Rotti's henchgirls. Amber's scantily-clad male bodyguards are a Spear Counterpart.
- The Brainless Beauty: An odd version with Pavi Largo, who is horribly scarred and wears fleshmasks, but is still considered beautiful by his many admirers, since surgery is sexy. Subverted with Amber - she seems like she'll fit this trope, but then demonstrates that she has more than enough brains to manipulate her brothers into backing her when she takes over GeneCo.
- Break the Cutie: Shilo is pretty much doomed to this from the start. We learn that Blind Mag was broken between her origin and the present.
- Broken Aesop:
- If you think the aesop is Screw Destiny, you probably think it's broken on account of Shilo's father leaving her alone, with nothing, unprepared for living on her own in the Crapsack World. If you think the aesop is "megacorporations rule the world" or "always read the fine print," it's not broken.
- It could also be taken as a line from Graverobber in "21st Century Cure"
"Would you change yourself if you could?"
- Or it could be a metaphor against too much plastic surgery. You could go many ways with this.
- Broken Bird: Blind Mag, after years of service to Gene Co with the knowledge that retirement = death.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Amber Sweet and Luigi have a whole lot of UST going on. Pavi thinks it'd be a great idea:
Pavi: My brother and sister should fuck!
- According to Pavi's official MySpace, it's heavily-implied that he and Amber — ahem — like each other.
- Brown Note: "Beloooooow."
- BSOD Song: Nathan gets not one, but three of these.
- Camp: This movie rivals Rocky Horror in sheer camp value. That's an achievement.
- Camp Straight: Pavi, who is really effeminate but is also a big womanizer.
- The Caretaker: Nathan Wallace, for his daughter, Shilo.
- The Casanova: Rotti Largo, in his younger days.
- The Chessmaster: Rotti Largo.
- Chewing the Scenery: EVERYONE. Well, except for Shilo.
- Hell, even Shilo has her moments in "Infected" and "Seventeen".
- China Takes Over the World: There's flavors of this between the cut song "Tao of Mag" and random Mandarin signs around the city. Of course, it might just be a homage to Blade Runner.
- Also some signs in Russian cyrillic.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Largo children are vying for a place as their father's rightful heir, and are pretty damn vicious about it. In Luigi's case, also chronic frontstabbing.
- Cloning Body Parts: Gene Co makes artificial organs after an epidemic of organ failures, then has assassins repossess them when the patients miss too many payments.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Not the most extreme example, but in the "Mark It Up" scene, each Largo child drops at least one F-bomb; Luigi drops two.
- Consummate Liar: Rotti certainly seems to count. he killed Marni out of jealousy, but has Nathan believing that he did, with tragic results. There's also Nathan as a better-intentioned version; he's poisoning Shilo to keep her with him, but has Shilo (and everyone else except the Largos) convinced that she inherited Marni's illness.
- Continuity Snarl: See the Expanded Universe entry. Basically, the Myspace pages were barely touched by the actual higher-ups. However, many consider them canon. This is made complicated by the fact some IS written by Word of God, and Word of God never told the Myspace writers they were inaccurate, or corrected anything afterwards.
- Played with. Darren Bousman, on his Formspring account, jokingly wrote that Graverobber is Rocky Horror character Riff Raff's son. He then said something on the lines of, "that's canon now."
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Rotti Largo. What else can you call the guy who used his corporation's wealth and power to legalize organ repossession?
- Covers Always Lie: A fairly minor example, the Repo Man's suit is black, not red as it was shown in the advertising.
- Crapsack World: A crapload of people died in the organ failure epidemic, and a fair proportion of those who are left are now addicted to painkillers, surgery, or both. The country is also pretty much ruled by a corporation with sufficient wealth and power to have murder sanctioned by law.
- Cut Song: Come Up and Try My New Parts, among others.
- Dark Messiah: Rotti.
- Dead Guy Puppet: The Repo Man does this to a guy he's just...well...repo'd. Poor sucker.
- Deadly Doctor: The Repo Men are trained medical professionals, who mostly do their work with scalpels. The Genterns don't kill people nearly as often as the Repo Men, but they're still extremely sinister.
- Deadpan Snarker: Grave-Robber has some moments of this throughout the film.
- Death Glare: Mag gives one hell of a Death Glare to Rotti near the end of "Chromaggia." Also, watch Mag's face when Rotti jokingly says "technically you belong to GeneCo" to Mag in front of a huge audience.
- Depraved Bisexual: Pavi. Oh, the Pavi. Though, since he's only confirmed as such in the Expanded Universe and in the film is only seen with women, it comes off as a little more Bi the Way.
- Discretion Shot: Pavi getting an "oral examination" from two Genterns.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Just in case the beginning of "Zydrate Anatomy" was too subtle for you, the Graverobber gets a nice little dance from Amber before he, uh, delivers an injection to her upper thigh.
- The cut song "Needle Into a Bug". Someone asked Terrance Zdunich if the "smack it" lyric was meant to be sexual, to which he replied, "Every lyric in that song is sexual."
- Do Not Go Gentle: Rotti claims that if he has to die, "[He] can go out with a bang!"
- The Dragon: The Repo Men, Rotti's henchgirls.
- Driven to Suicide: Blind Mag chooses to leave GeneCo, knowing this will mean her death; at the end, she snaps and tears out her own eyes on stage, forcing Rotti to kill her, rather than waiting to be hunted down like a dog by the Repo Men.
- Dysfunction Junction: Just about everyone besides Mag has some sort of strange, deep-seeded psychological problem; Nate has a split personality, Shilo is sheltered, Rotti just can't let things go, Luigi is Axe Crazy, Pavi is a rapist who wears women's faces to cover his scarred face, Amber is a drug/sex addict and the Graverobber just flat-out lacks empathy.
- At least Graverobber gets Shilo out of more scrapes than he gets her into. Marginally.
- Dystopia: See Crapsack World.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Shilo.
- Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: Pavi Largo is a woman-hating (implied) rapist, but he wears the face of a woman he killed and is generally effeminate.
- Elite Mooks: The Repo Men and the henchgirls again.
- Emo Teen: Shilo is played this way.
- Even Evil Has Standards: About every time Shilo is in a scene with the Largo brothers, Luigi is usually the one to try and keep her away from Pavi.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Quite a few instances. Grave-Robber, Single Mother, Band Leader, News Reporter, DJ Granny and, of course, Repo Man.
- Evil Debt Collector: The Repo Men, though Nathan was forced to.
- Evil Laugh: Rotti gets one in "Things you see in a Graveyard."
- Evil Plan:Rotti's revenge plot.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The Repo Man becomes much deeper and hoarse when he's on the job. Just compare Legal Assassin to Thankless Job. Lampshaded when he switches voices in the same take so he can talk to Shilo.
- Also subverted, with Pavi, with the exception of 'Night Surgeon', where his voice starts getting deeper and scratchy when he taunts the (soon to be) repo victim.
- Subverted in the other direction with Graverobber, who, while having a very deep voice, isn't actually a bad guy.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Genetic Opera is an opera about (at least in part) genetics. Grave-Robber is a grave robber. Blind Mag is (or rather, was) blind.
- Expanded Universe: Each of the eight main characters (plus the Repo Man) has a MySpace page of his or her own. What goes on there is considered canon, sometimes a little moreso than the movie (for example, Rotti has stated on multiple occasions that some of his more diabolical plots were artistic licence on the parts of Mssrs. Zdunich, Smith, and Bousman.)
- To clarify, Terrance Zdunich and Darren Smith made the basic Myspace profiles for all the characters, and then chose fans to maintain them. The information itself was left intact with only minor (eg, grammatical) adjustments to the text; for example, a portion of the "About Me" section on Rotti's page can also be found in a newspaper article in the movie. However, the interviews and similar interactions are entirely fan-written. As the creators gave the fans insight to their respective characters and are yet to debunk anything, many consider it to be as good as canon.
- As well, there's a project that was developed that gave GeneCo, Zydrate, the Genetic Opera, the Zydrate Support Network and two anti-GeneCo groups their own Web pages, filled with hilariously in-universe info.
- Of the official Myspaces, a few expanded to Twitter. The official Twitter accounts are: @luigilargo, @officialrotti, @pavi_largo and @officialmssweet.
- Eye Scream: Mag decides she would rather not see any more, and gouges her own eyes out at the opera.
- Face Death with Dignity: Mag in the end.
- Follow the Leader: It's not Baz Luhrmann, but an incredible simulation!
- Foreshadowing: Rotti Largo claims, when talking to Marni's tomb, that though he's dying, he'll go out with a bang. And technically he does - shooting Nathan before he dies of his illness.
- Funny Foreigner: The entire Largo family is Italian, though Pavi's the only child with an accent; even Rotti only speaks with an Italian accent when he says his own name. Pavi and his brother Luigi make up the main comic relief of the movie. Of course, with a movie like Repo!, the comic relief duo is made up of a rapist and a murderer...
- Co-writer Terrance Zdunich stated at a 2008 screening afterparty that a young Pavi crafted the accent to hide his speech impediment. Eventually it just became part of his The Casanova reputation. This is widely accepted as a canon part of the Expanded Universe.
- The Future Is Noir: See Dystopia.
- Gallows Humor: Shadow cast performances are usually full of it.
- How does Mag feel about leaving Gene Co?
- She's on the fence about it.
- Gas Mask Mooks: Rotti's henchgirls in Things You See In A Graveyard. For once, the trope is actually used in a sensible manner (they're tossing gas bombs).
- Genre-Busting: Cyber Punk Gothic Musical, with Gorn.
- Genre Savvy: Grave-Robber is somewhat ahead of the curve. It's most noticeable in Bloodbath, but is present throughout the movie.
"And the mighty fine print hastens the trip to our epilogue. (EPILOGUE!)"
- Giggling Villain: Pavi Largo has such a cute little effeminate laugh, it's hard to believe he's actually something of a monster. The dead woman's face clumsily grafted to his head doesn't hurt.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Luigi's torso is covered with crude surgical stitches, and he likes to show them off.
- Gorn: Guaranteed whenever the Repo Man is sent after a new victim. There's also Amber Sweet's surgery montage. What did you expect? It's directed by the guy who did three Saw films.
- Although in the latter example, it leans more towards the Porn side than the Gore side.
- Grave Robbing: Black market Zydrate can only be extracted from the decaying brain matter of corpses. A syringe up the nose and through the skull is apparently the best way to get it...
- Groin Attack: Amber crushes Luigi's two best friends in "Mark It Up." And being Amber, licks his ear at the same time.
- Guinea Pig Family
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: The entire film.
- Handsome Lech: Graverobber.
- Harmless Villain: Amber Sweet. She's just as bad as her siblings, but she's usually too busy shooting up to do anything really nasty. At least, until Epitaph.
- Hidden Depths: Amber may be a self destructive Rich Bitch, but she is one of the only children who seems to notice her dad is growing ill and seem genuinely concerned for him. And it appears she might just be a capable ruler of Geneco after all.
- Hitman with a Heart: Nathan
- Hologram: Mag's artificial eyes can project them.
- Also, the portraits of Marni that fill the Wallace home.
- Hospital Hottie: The Genterns appear to be hired simply because they look good in white minidresses. Or less.
- Human Resources: Graverobber's bootleg Zydrate, which he extracts from corpses.
- Ill Girl: Shilo, continuing the proud tradition of Marni (dead before the story starts) and Blind Mag (cured, at least temporarily.) Or at least, so it seems. Nathan's actually been poisoning Shilo to keep her with him after her mother died.
- Implacable Man: A legion of them, in the form of GeneCo's Repo Men.
- Inadequate Inheritor: Pavi, Luigi, and Amber, according to Rotti.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Rotti's terminal disease, which is heavily implied to be an untreatable cancer by the doctor's statement, "You don't have a lot of time. It's spreading rapidly."
- Informed Flaw: Pavi's status as a rapist. A particularly odd case, in that (a) it's not even informed from the film itself, but rather from the promotional materials, and (b) it's not like there was a shortage of evidence that Pavi is a freak beforehand.
- The Inner Reveal: Nathan is Repo Man.
- In the Blood: Shilo inherited Dead Marni's blood disease. Or so she thinks.
- Subverted in another sense, as when Nathan is dying and Shilo learns his secret, they both agree that she doesn't have to make the choices he made.
- It's All My Fault: Nathan, for just about everything, partly due to a constant chorus of It's All Your Fault from the Genterns and Marni.
- I Wished You Were Dead: Rotti to Marni in the backstory, subverted because he killed her, and Shilo to Nathan in the main storyline.
- Jekyll & Hyde: Nathan and the Repo Man are played as being two entirely separate characters; one quiet, gentle father, and one remorseless killer.
- Karma Houdini: Everyone. No, really: 'EVERYONE.' None of the Largo family's crimes are discovered. The children are actually better off at the end, after two hours of being vile. Sure, Rotti and Nathan die, but Rotti's hand in Marni's death remains a secret and the many mourn him as a hero, while Nathan gets Shilo's forgiveness for controlling and arguably ruining her entire life and is at peace. Even freakin' Graverobber gets a happy ending; the last shot shows him continuing to sell Zydrate to really hot women.
- Kavorka Man: They all love-a the Pavi! Despite him being a horrifically scarred man with the mind of a horny teenage Vanity Smurf who wears women's faces. An in-universe Draco in Leather Pants, perhaps?
- Just because Pavi sees himself this way and is rich enough to afford "Women of mercenary affection" doesn't mean anyone else agrees.
- Keet: The Band Leader is such a keet that at the end of his song you can even hear him coughing and running out of breath!
- Kinda Busy Here: Happens when Nathan calls Shiloh to check up on her while doing his work as the Repo Man. Also goes both ways, as he can hear the ambient noise caused by Shilo being outside.
- Knife Nut: Luigi Largo. 'Nuff said.
- Also, the Repo Man, who's really attached to his scalpels.
- Large Ham : GRAAAAAAAAAAAVVEEEEESSSSSSSS!
- Leitmotif: Not only are there themes that crop up throughout the movie, but most characters are associated with particular styles.
- Seventeen year old Shilo gets rebellious punk rock befitting a teenager trying to grow up.
- Sara Brightman reminds you quite a few times she is a legend from Broadway with her show-stopping songs, her operatic performances are at Rotti's instance.
- Cromaggia could be seen as one for Mag.
- Rotti, of course, delivers his songs with a highly operatic style, as befits his status, class, and love of high culture.
- Graverobber delivers his Greek Chorus pieces with themes borrowed from goth rock.
- Amber Sweet, when singing for herself, usually gets some pop tracks. When joining those above her, like Rotti, she struggles to conform to those styles, and when joining Graverobber during Zydrate Anatomy, she imposes an overly autotuned pop element to his song. It may be Fridge Brilliance.
- Pavi and Luigi's every sung line is comedic faux-opera.
- Nathan's musical theme has occasional glimpses into older showtunes framed by bass-heavy dark rock music.
- Loan Shark: GeneCo. You really, really don't want to encounter one of their Repo Men.
- Lock and Load Montage: "At The Opera Tonight" starts with the Repo Man suiting up and arming himself.
- The Lost Lenore: Marni is this to three main characters. Nathan (her husband), Rotti (her ex), and Mag (her best friend).
- Loveable Rogue: Grave-Robber is (obviously) a graverobber, a drugdealer, a pimp, and sleeps in a dumpster — but he makes up for it by being really loveable.
- Magic Plastic Surgery: Amber's face gets fixed right back up. Temporarily.
- Manipulative Bastard: Rotti again, to the point where it's hard to tell what wasn't orchestrated by him.
- Possibly Marni to an extent - she sweet-talks Rotti into helping her friend and then dumps him for Nathan pretty soon after...
- ...but then again, considering what Rotti has done to his other lady loves in the past, can you blame her for wanting to find someone less likely to have her killed on a whim? Self-Fulfilling Prophecy if ever there was one...
- May-December Romance: Marni and Rotti.
- Meaningful Name: Rotti.
- Missing Mom: Marni, and the Largo children's mother(s).
- Mooks: The GeneCops and Amber's eunuch valets.
- Morality Pet: Marni, for Nathan. When she died, Shilo replaced her. Shilo also acts as a Morality Chain — it's implied she's all that's stopping him from taking on the sociopathic Repo Man persona full-time.
- If it weren't for Shilo, he wouldn't have the job in the first place, if you assume Marni's illness was brought on by her pregnancy. The entire deal was that Nathan serves as a Repo Man to avoid being framed for Marni's death, which was caused by the medicine Nathan made for her (and poisoned by Rotti, unbeknownst to Nathan.)
- Mr. Exposition: Grave-Robber, whose song Zydrate Anatomy introduces himself, Amber Sweet, Blind Mag, some Applied Phlebotinum in the form of Zydrate, the veritable epidemic of surgery addiction, and reveals one of Rotti Largo's many, many plots.
- Hell, he does this from his very first number. Check out the opening lines of 21st Century Cure
- Ms. Fanservice: Where to begin? Amber Sweet, Blind Mag, the Genterns, the scalpel sluts, Rotti's henchgirls, even Shilo when she dresses in skimpy leather Zettai Ryouiki outfits...
- It would probably be easier to list the female characters who DON'T satisfy someone's fetish.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Nathan finally asks this question right before his death.
- My Greatest Failure: Part of the reason Nathan is such a crazypants is because he was a doctor before he became a Repo Man, and was responsible for his wife's death. Or so he thinks.
- NaÔve Newcomer: Shilo Wallace. After being locked in her bedroom for seventeen years, with nothing but what her father tells her and what she can see out her window to inform her about the world, she breaks out of the house. A fair chunk of the story deals with the trouble that naivety gets her into.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Rotti Largo
- No Dead Body Poops: Subverted. After finishing disemboweling his latest victim, the victim's waste is emptied onto Nathan Wallace's shoes, as far as we can tell from his expression and the subtle sound effect.
- No Fourth Wall: Grave-Robber breaks this all the friggin' time. In Genetic Repo Man, he speaks directly to the audience. He gets caught by the police in the middle of a musical number. Towards the end of the move he calls out the fact that it's a rock opera and acknowledges the epilogue.
- Probably has to do with the fact that he's the show's Story Teller. This is pretty standard in opera for that sort of character.
- Offstage Villainy: Pavi is described as a rapist in the promotional materials, but this is never mentioned in the movie, and all the girls we see him with are entirely willing. This is probably because while brutal murders are hilarious, rape is hard to joke about.
- Older Than They Look: Blind Mag. According to Rotti, Mag was 19 when she got her eyes. 17 years later would now make her 36. Sarah Brightman was at least 10 years older than that during filming.
- Ditto for the Largo brothers. Their ages are never given, but Nivek Ogre (Pavi) was 46 during filming while Bill Mosley (Luigi) was 57.
- Only Sane Man: Blind Mag is the most well adjusted member of the cast by far. Yes, you heard us correctly; the woman who rips out her eyes with her fingernails is possibly the sanest person in this story.
- Out, Damned Spot!: Nathan is very good at his job, and even enjoys it to some extent, which brings on bouts of this, especially when combined with guilt trips from Dead Marni and taunting from the Genterns.
- Overprotective Dad: Nathan takes this to some scary extremes with Shilo.
- The Paid-For Harem: Rotti's henchwomen/bodyguards.
- It's heavily implied that Blind Mag is also part of this. "Technically, you belong to =GeneCo=."
- Also, Pavi's Genterns.
- Papa Wolf: Nathan as the Repo Man.
- Parental Abandonment: Neither Shilo nor the Largo siblings have a mother present.
- Parental Favoritism: Subverted. Rotti can't stand any of his own children, but thinks Shilo's pretty cool.
- Get's into Squick territory considering how much she apparently looks like her mom and his various interactions with her...
- Parrot Exposition: Zydrate comes in a little glass vial...
- A little glass vial?
- And Amber Sweet is addicted to the knife...
- Addicted to the knife?
- ADDICTED TO THE KNIFE!
- Plucky Comic Relief: Luigi and Pavi again. Amber too to an extent.
- Posthumous Character: Marni, who greatly impacts the plot despite being dead for seventeen years.
- Precision F-Strike: "DADDY'S GIRL'S A FUCKING MONSTER!"
- Psycho for Hire: The Repo Men by definition: remorseless killers on GeneCo's payroll.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Luigi Largo when he's having a temper tantrum.
- The Repo Man has shades of this, especially in "Thankless Job".
- Psycho Supporter: The Largo siblings, for Rotti and for each other.
- Punch Clock Villain: The Repo Men and the Genterns.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "EVERYBODY, EVERYBODY TES! TI! FYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Largo children.
- Also, the Repo men. An early expositionary scene shows that the Repo Men don't all wear Nathan's black vinyl surgeon's outfit, they all wear equally bizarre, but unique outfits.
- We also get to see the other Repo men in the background of "Night Surgeon." Interestingly, the outfits they wear are actually Nathan's outfits from different iterations of Repo.(The early concept, the mini-opera, the stage play, etc.)
- Race Lift: In the original stage production Amber Sweet was so addicted to cosmetic surgery she had even changed her ethnicity, and was played by an Asian actress. There is a reference to this in a lyric in the film soundtrack, but the implication is that this was something she did at some point in the past and then changed her ethnicity to Caucasian again. Also, the original Blind Mag was played by a black actress.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: At least, according to Luigi.
- Redemption Equals Death: Nathan does confess his sins and gets Shilo's forgiveness... just before dying.
- Retro Universe: Has some Sci-Fi elements, some modern (as of 2008) elements, and a heavy dose of Neo-Victorian Steampunkishness, especially in the area of fashion, which is mostly biased around a combination of Victorian funeral dress and modern Cyberpunk fashions.
- The Resenter: Rotti Largo. Poor guy.
- Right Through His Pants: In "Come Up And Try My New Parts", Amber convinces Graverobber to sleep with her to get out of paying for her Zydrate. Both remain fully clothed for the entire sceneó the only item of clothing removed is Graverobber's big coat.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Subverted. Nathan starts out well, but gets taken down only a couple of minutes in by Luigi Largo and his very large knife.
- As of information received during a recent Shadow Cast event, it's possible that a Director's Cut will see this trope played straight.
- Rock Opera: Repo! is an opera in the most traditional sense‚Ä"nearly all dialogue is sung.
- Royal Rapier: Rotti, the closest thing to royalty, draws a concealed smallsword when he kills Blind Mag. No one else uses such a weapon, and the sword is never seen again.
- Rule of Funny: There is no apparent reason for Pavi's foppish Italian accent aside from that it makes him funnier.
- It was mentioned in the Extended Universe that he started using it to hide a speech impediment.
- Sarcastic Confession: In a press conference, Rotti says to Mag, "technically, you belong to GeneCo" and plays it off as a joke, despite the (completely true) rumors that he intends to use her eyes as an excuse to kill her for leaving.
- Scenery Gorn: This is everywhere, but the best example is right at the beginning, when the camera pans in across the sea (full of corpses), past the broken bridge (littered with corpses), over a massive graveyard (later revealed to be literally stuffed with corpses) and into the grimy, grey industrial city scape, before looping a giant flying GeneCo billboard and disappearing down a chimney.
- Science Marches On: Some science fiction/speculative fiction fans try and take this movie to task for its depiction of organ transplants 50 years in the future being implausibly efficient by today's standards, forgetting that the idea of ANY kind of artificial organ transplant was science fiction 50 years ago.
- Screw Destiny: The basic moral of the story.
- Serious Business: This hellhole of a future loves its opera. Though it makes sense to a degree: Rotti is the most powerful man in the world, Rotti loves Opera...
- They did "start this op'ra shit."
- Honestly, there's little else to smile about in this world. Gene Co has to keep the population alive and sated with something.
- The appeal of the event may not be the actual Opera- Gene Co is the single most powerful corporation on the planet, Rotti is the most powerful man, etc... and the public is invited to be in the company of the elite for one night a year. It might be more VIP appeal than the content of the performance.
- Shirtless Scene: Not really a scene, but Luigi Largo has a lot of shirtless moments.
- Shoot the Messenger: Rotti ordered the execution of the doctor who told him he was terminally ill.
- Shut Up Compliment: A particularly famous (if failed) one in cut song Needle Through a Bug:
Gaverobber: You're beautiful. It's easy.
Shilo: You don't mean-
- Soap Opera Disease: Shilo's rare genetic blood disorder. We don't know anything about it, except that it killed her mother, made her hair fall out, can't be cured, and makes her delicate enough that her father thinks it's a good idea to keep her locked in her bedroom for the rest of her life. Eventually justified—Nathan has been poisoning her so she can't leave him.
- Many of Shilo's symptoms match mercury poisoning, which may offer some insight as to what was in her meds.
- Rotti's terminal illness, too, although with the cough, baldness (chemo?) and the doctor's "it's spreading rapidly" implies that it might be lung cancer.
- It could be leukemia blood based diseases seem like they are the one kind that are still dangerous.
- The Song Before The Storm: "At The Opera Tonight" is a textbook example.
- Special Effects Failure: You would have thought that they could have gotten a better effect for Blind Mag's big scene.
- It was an in-universe effect, and furthermore, that's pretty amazing for a stage show.
- Not her wire-assisted floating... the Conspicuous CGI of her... eye gouging. Considering that pretty much all the gore is done with practical effects, it makes this instance stand out like a sore thumb.
- There's another when Graverobber is holding a vial of Zydrate and it comes off looking like it was badly Photoshopped in later.
- Spell My Name with a "The": "Why does no one ever tell the Pavi these things?"
- Spiritual Successor: The Devil's Carnival, a short musical made by Bousman and Zdunich with several Repo! cast members returning.
- The Starscream: All of the Largo siblings would happily topple each other for a shot at the top, until the very end when their father's crushing rejection of all three of them causes Luigi and Pavi to happily stand behind and support Amber when she takes over the company- to the point of Luigi threatening to kill anyone who doesn't give his sister the applause she deserves.
- Stealth Pun: Word of God says that Amber Sweet's real name is Carmela Largo.
- Although the My Spaces are cloudy in terms of canon, this has been confirmed by the writers. Furthermore, it is stated in Happiness is Not a Warm Scalpel that Amber changed her surname for the stage.
- In the stage play, Luigi's name was "Lucci," making the Largo men "Lucci Pavirotti."
- Strapped to an Operating Table: At least one of the Repo Man's victims. Another one gets strapped to a chair. And one gets strapped upside down!
- Stripperific: The Genterns and Amber, whose wardrobe came from Ms. Hilton's own copious closets, according to the first DVD commentary.
- Superpowered Evil Side: When Nathan is with Shilo, he couldn't hurt a fly, but as the Repo Man, he becomes a total sociopath.
- Sympathetic Murderer: Nathan Wallace.
- Tear Off Your Face: Due to excess surgery Amber's actually falls off on stage.
- Televisually Transmitted Disease: A rather spectacular case of Munchausen by proxy afflicting Nathan via Shilo, made an even more intense TTD because it originally looks like a TTD version of a Porphyria, hereditary anemia, congenital heart disease, or a rare immunodeficiency.
Shilo: "Why are my genetics such a bitch?"
- Terrible Trio: When Amber persuades her brothers to follow her in rebuilding GeneCo, that is.
- There Are No Therapists: While almost everyone in the movie is messed up to some extent (only Blind Mag seems to function on a remotely normal level, and while she does end up ripping out her own eyes, it's actually her way to Face Death with Dignity and make Rotti look like the monster he is rather than a moment of sheer balls to the wall crazy), especially Nathan, the three Largo children make them all look positively healthy.
- The Expanded Universe materials found on the Largo kids' My Spaces imply that Pavi and Amber might have had a chance at normality if their mother had survived their childhood... but Luigi was always like he is.
- Third-Person Person: Mainly seen with "The Pavi," but potentially a y-linked Largo trait, since both Rotti and Luigi do this a few times each as well. Amber might if she wasn't high every time we see her.
- Too Dumb to Live: Nathan walking right past Luigi with no more than a sideways glance on his way to confront Rotti. He's met the guy, there's no excuse.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The film treats Nathan's Secret Identity as, well, a secret for about the first third of the film, and the website actually treats him and Repo Man as separate characters (they even have separate MySpace pages). The trailer, meanwhile, proudly proclaims that the film features "Anthony Stewart Head as Repo Man."
- And proudly plays the reveal song throughout.
- Troubled, but Cute: Fan opinion is divided if Grave-Robber is this, or just very sarcastic and very pretty.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: Repo! is set in 2056, and GeneCo has been around since 2030.
- The Vamp: Amber Sweet in a nutshell and latex panties.
- Viewers Are Morons: Comic book sections are integrated into the movie telling the audience, in plain text, about the Marni / Rotti / Nathan love triangle, Amber's surgery addiction, and Mag's bad contract, often before a song that gives the same information. Most egregious in the "Things you see in a Graveyard" number, where the comic spoiled the reveal that Rotti murdered Marni, nearly killed Shilo in the process, and conned Nathan into thinking he botched the job.
- Villainous Breakdown: Rotti Largo at the end of the film. When Mag defies him during her act, he cuts the ropes holding her up so that she crashes onto a cast-iron fence prop and is impaled. He insists to the audience it's all part of the show, then drags Shilo and Nathan on stage and tries to force Shilo to kill Nathan. When she refuses, he loses it in front of the entire Opera audience, shoots Nathan himself, then finally succumbs to his disease due to the stress of the breakdown, rambling as he dies.
- Villain Song: Gold and Things You See In A Graveyard for Rotti Largo, Legal Assassin and Thankless Job for the Repo Man, Mark It Up as a borderline case for Pavi and Luigi, and the Cut Song Come Up and Try My New Parts for Amber Sweet.
- There's also "We Started This Op'ra Sh*t," for GeneCo as a company. It's the most hammy number in the movie, and is basically about the company's employees and customers reveling in decadence."EVERYBODY, TESTIFY!"
- Villain with Good Publicity: The Largo family and GeneCo are mostly known for
curing treating the organ failure epidemic and hosting the Genetic Opera, an extremely popular event. They also have several reporters on their payroll who tend to brush aside any bad publicity.
- Hell, Rotti himself is regarded with a religious fervor: magazine covers from the disaster hail him as "SAVIOUR" and at the start of the Genetic Opera, GeneCo customers are urged to "testify" of their salvation through surgery.
- Well, this trope is a bit subverted. Though Rotti is highly praised, but during the "Gold" (between 1:02:22 and 1:02:28), we see newspapers calling Rotti "villain" and even "devil".
- Wardrobe Malfunction: Forget wardrobe, Amber's whole damn face falls off!
- Wham Line: Rotti's "Let me introduce you to the man who made you sick."
- Wicked Cultured: Rotti Largo and his love for opera and Italian culture.
- Wingding Eyes: Mag, more noticeable in the comics sections.
- With Catlike Tread: In order to sell your futuristic drugs, you need to go grave robbing in a heavily guarded graveyard, with watchmen under orders to shoot trespassers on sight. Do you: a) sneak in and out as quietly as possible to avoid broadcasting your location, b) find a new line of work, or c) sing about the unfortunate state of the world, before screaming "GRAVES!!!!" at the top of your lungs and using a dead body as a battering ram to break into a tomb?
- Woman in White: Shilo's dressing style combines gothic black and gothic white.
- World of Ham: Well, it is a musical, but the setting, the characters, the actors playing them, and the music itself turns this up to 11
- Zettai Ryouiki: Most of Shilo's outfits.