Surrogates is a thought provoking peek into the possible future of humanity.
This thoughtful action drama earned a solid 8. I saw this with five of my friends at the theater. Five of the six thought this was a very good movie, and the other one gave it a not-so-much.
As will become obvious by my lengthy review, this movie was very enjoyable and interesting while touching a personal chord. There are no significant plot spoilers in here as is typical of my respect for the surprise factor for those who have not seen the movie yet (people who ruin the surprise for others are evil and should be violently castrated!).
In the future, humans do not leave their homes. Instead they venture out via a surrogate robot to which they are connected by a super computer connection. A person is able to experience every sensation that the surrogate feels, sees and hears without any physical risk. Life is now “safe.” Humans go to work and recreation via their surrogates while lying on reclining tables with video masks and electrodes attached to their heads. The streets are full of robots that look very much like humans. How people maintain muscle mass and slender figures while spending all day as the ultimate couch potatoes is not explained.
Detective Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) is called in to investigate the bloody death of a human who has died while connected to his surrogate. Of course, this is impossible because the technology has been thoroughly tested and has run live for many years without an incident. Almost every human is tied into this system. If this problem were possible, it could be bad… It might even cause a panic.
As you would expect, there are groups of humans that refuse to use surrogates and live on reservations as outcasts and reactionaries. They are led by the charismatic and mysterious Prophet (Ving Rhames). Naturally, the creator of this technology, Dr. Canter (James Cromwell), now lives in seclusion and has a role to play. Greer’s wife, Maggie (Rosamund Pike) loves living her life through her surrogate and refuses to spend any human-to-human time with her husband in their apartment despite Greer’s requests for together time.
Greer is somewhat disenchanted with living his life through a surrogate and eventually must venture into the real world with his real body to solve the mysterious deaths that are beginning to pile up in what could be a catastrophe for humanity. It is not made any easier by the fact that he is quite capable of dying and none of the other “people” out there can be hurt. From the beginning, it is obviously not a simple software glitch.
The plot is very well done and has many complexities. This movie will make you think and perhaps feel a little uncomfortable if you think hard enough. But it is a good uncomfortable that we will need to address eventually as a society and as individuals. The Internet has already enabled many of us to live a large portion of our lives online instead of in human-to-human interactions. How much is too much and when do we begin to lose a sense of community or humanity? It is time to start thinking about this as we are on the way to having surrogates or living completely through our minds (The Matrix, etc.).
The cinematography was well done. It was almost startling to see the difference between the human Greer and his surrogate. The surrogate had a slightly more stiff (almost plastic) face and a full head of hair (not a very flattering cut by any stretch!) compared to the very human and weathered head of the human Greer (Willis). This difference was consistently maintained for all of the characters in the movie. The special effects/make up artists did a fantastic job with this. Kudos!
The acting was also superb. For some reason, I really enjoy Bruce Willis in science fiction movies (The Fifth Element, Planet Terror, Sin City, and the non-sci fi Die Hard flicks). There is just something about his solid presence that fits the cop/detective/officer stereotypical role that he always seems to get. He is a stud, a man’s man, a lone wolf and looks really cool with his head shaved. The other actors held up their end of the movie, too.
Please see this excellent piece of cinematography and possible vision of our future.
~Elric the Damned