Remy and Jake are repo men of the near future who repossess artificial bodily organs from those who can’t make their payments – thus killing them under the protection of the law of course. They are of course heartless and without concern for their victims, who are usually irresponsible in not making their payments, but mostly portrayed as victims of the cold heartless corporation who manipulates people into buying their organs purely for profit and don’t care at all about the humanity of those to whom they sell. When Remy has an accident, and has to get an artificial heart, and falls back on his payments then his friend Jake has to repo his heart so the chase is on.
Well, this story deals with the moral theme of the corporation and profit seeking vs. the human being. The recurring statement that the repo men use to rationalize their taking of human lives is, “A job is just a job.” This is of course, the rationale that many people use to avoid being accountable for what they do to make money in life, so it’s all very relevant to our world. But it is a very very bloody movie, especially the ending, which I think ties in with the morality of the tale being about money versus humanity, and blood is very human and is the price paid for the dehumanizing of life.
Jake even makes the argument that society is based on rules. If we don’t enforce the rules, then we have anarchy which is worse. But Remy concludes after he experiences the other side of the gun that “In the end, a job is not just a job. And if you want to change who you are, you have to change what you do.” So in this story, who we are is not separate from our behavior. We are what we do. We cannot divorce our private moral values from our public actions. I was just following orders simply will not do as an excuse for anyone. The movie is a tragic tale of warning as it ends with a very Brazil ending of the hero being taken over by technology and put in a dream state of control by the corporation, the ultimate end of our humanity if we let ourselves be driven by technology over our humanity, by artificiality over reality, by the pursuit of pleasure over accepting suffering.