What followed was, quite possibly, the most violent R-rated film I've ever seen - this thing makes Scarface seem like The Little Mermaid - and yet the mother and son remained in their seats, munching happily on their popcorn, bonding over a fun night out at the movies.
This, to me, proves two things:
1) Kids today have an infinitely higher tolerance for gore than I did (I was 13 when I went to see David Cronenberg's Shivers, for example, and my friends and I literally bolted out of the theater, wigged out of our minds, the first time the parasite throbbed within the dude's torso).
2) The Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board has become just as desensitized to violence as audiences.
I don't mean this as criticism: After a sluggish start, Repo Men finds its footing and becomes a rollicking, outrageous B-movie ride with all the gloss and sheen big-budget Hollywood can provide. I'm glad the members of the ratings board, whoever they are, appreciated the film's subtle tongue-in-cheek approach to violence and let it slide by.
I was just struck by how much the film gets away with, while Brian De Palma had to trim the motel room/chainsaw sequence in Scarface repeatedly in order to avoid an X rating. In Repo Men, that scene would qualify as boring character exposition.
I've never thought of myself as squeamish - quite the opposite - but eavesdropping on that mother-son conversation tonight, and then watching the movie that followed, made me feel like a bit of a wuss. Or maybe I'm just getting old.