Review by Camden Ferrell
Repossession premiered in 2019 at the Cinequest Film Festival. Since then, it has premiered in several film festivals, most recently being the 2020 Dances with Films Festival. This film serves as the feature directorial debut of Goh Ming Siu and Scott Chong Hillyard. While this movie may be a story that many can relate to, it ultimately falls flat due to it slow pace and constant meandering.
Jim is a 50-year-old living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. He has a great job, a nice condo, and a luxury vehicle. However, after he loses his job of 25 years, he desperately clings to his former lifestyle and status symbols as his life slowly becomes a nightmarish landscape of psychological proportions. The premise is rooted enough in reality to be relatable and has the benefit of mixing in elements of horror, but it never delivers on its potential.
The script by Goh and Hillyard is underwhelming for the most part. The concept and themes are all present, but the dialogue doesn’t do much to explore these ideas thoroughly. The way it communicates feels somewhat hollow and the dialogue between the characters isn’t especially compelling. The script does feature some ominous scenes of vaguely threatening dialogue that attempts to create suspense to mixed effect.
The acting in this movie unfortunately doesn’t do too much to uplift the film’s overall quality. Gerald Chew leads the film as Jim, and as a leading man, he isn’t always the most captivating. The main problem with his performance and a lot of the supporting cast is from their wooden delivery of the dialogue. It doesn’t feel authentic, and it really brings the viewer out of the experience at times. Some of it isn’t too objectionable, but it still finds itself being less than effective.
Some of the execution of the film is also somewhat out of place. Certain scenes are edited weirdly and create wildly different paces that alter the perception of the movie. There are scenes of horror that lack the proper blocking or techniques to create suspense and fear. However, there are some blatantly obvious albeit intriguing and effective visual metaphors throughout that serve as a silver lining in this movie.
The enjoyment of this movie will definitely differ from viewer to viewer. It’s one of the more polarizing movies that I have seen lately. It could very well be the next cult-classic horror, but it will definitely not be a film that is accessible to everyone. It does some interesting things with its exploration of material wealth and the mental effects of work on a person, but it doesn’t always make for an insightful narrative.
Some credit must be given to the filmmakers for attempting to create a genre-bending nightmare that also aims to be a socially conscious drama. It’s not an easy feat, and even though this film couldn’t pull it off, there’s some merit in the attempt. Despite its flaws, it’s still daring and my find its niche in the film community over time.
Repossession will be a financial nightmare that many will relate to but not all will be able to fully digest. There are a lot of moving parts that make this a polarizing experience. The execution and acting are heavily flawed throughout, but the film’s final act could potentially be very thrilling for some viewers. This is a film that is best judged on an individual basis.
Repossession is currently screening as a part of the Dances with Films Festival (times can be found here).
One of the writers from disappointment media worked on a film playing as part of the Dances with Films Festival, but they were not involved with the writing of this review.