Surrogates (2009)

Surrogates, based on the graphic comic book series of the same name is a science fiction film set in the not-too-distant future.  In this future people live their lives vicariously through the use of robotic surrogates, which they control with their minds from the comfort of their own homes. This interesting concept was what grabbed my attention and made me sit down and watch Surrogates. It didn’t hurt that the lead guy was Bruce Willis, as he’s watchable in pretty much anything and rarely fails to please.

Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) is a detective investigating the discovery of a lethal weapon which not only destroys surrogates, but kills their controllers at the same time. This is a hush hush investigation, as it can’t be made public that using robotic surrogates could be dangerous, as one of the main reasons for using surrogates is that they are supposed to be safe. Any harm that comes to them as they are acting out their controller’s daily life is not supposed to have any impact on their controller. The discovery that a technology exists which can harm both would cause public outcry.

Digital effects are used excessively in this movie, as the robotic surrogates are designed to look like idealised versions of the people controlling them and largely have flawless faces and perfect figures. This is logical and the digitally altered faces allow viewers to easily identify the surrogates from their controlling counterparts. Nevertheless, it was very hard to concentrate on the story when Bruce Willis’ appearance was so obviously altered and expressionless. It was distracting to see a face so familiar look so different.

Fortunately, when Tom’s surrogate is destroyed, he has to come out of his chair and actually start doing some investigating for himself and that’s when we get to see the Bruce Willis we know and love.  As Tom gets more used to life without a surrogate and sees that his relationship with his wife has almost completely disintgrated and they don’t know how to communicate with one another, he starts to question how effective surrogates are and begins to look at them in a negative light.

Unfortunately, despite the interesting idea behind it, Surrogates never really gets going and it fails  to engage the viewer. Tom Greer is the only character we really get attached to, as everyone else is living life through a surrogate, and it’s hard to become attached to someone when you’re aware they’re basically a robot

rating: 4

Dir: Jonathon Mostow

Starring: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Ving Rhames

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