Thursday, 22 October 2009

Surrogates: Movie Review

Surrogates: Movie Review

Rating: 5/10
Cast: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames, Rosamund Pike
Director: Jonathan Mostow
It's the year 2017 and the world's taken virtual reality to its logical extreme.
Humans live at home, plugged into machines while their robotic alter egos - The Surrogates of the title - wander the streets living their lives and serving as better looking versions of their owners.
Crime's gone down, everyone's good looking and happy - and those who don't like it, live in segregated robot free worlds.
Utopia's here - until one day, FBI Agent Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) is called to investigate a crime along with his partner (Radha Mitchell) - the murder of the surrogate of the son whose father Dr Canter (James Cromwell) invented the machines.
Greer's investigation leads him into a world which sees the Surrogates and their owners destroyed - and it reaches the point where he has to abandon his surrogate and head out into the real world to track the killers down.
However, as is the norm with these kinds of cases, nothing's as it seems and before long, there's a deeper conspiracy coming into play.
Surrogates, is to be honest, a little muddled and messy - which is a shame because it had very real potential. The idea of living your life via a robot day and night (their slogan - Your Life.. Only Better) is a good one - but unfortunately the premise finds itself mired in its own weightiness. It's not as if the film is a complete failure (there are some great visuals towards the end) but it's just a little neither here nor there - and feels like the kind of thing you'd see Walter Bishop from TV2's Fringe involved in.
A subplot involving Greer and his wife who've lost touch with each other after their son died tries to give both Willis and Pike some emotional grounding but it just fails to meet the mark. And when the pieces fall together at the end, you'd be hard pressed to not see them coming together.
The not too distant future itself looks good - it won't be a shock to learn the Surrogate versions of Radha Mitchell and Bruce Willis are pristine and like shop dummies- and it won't surprise you to learn they don't look anything like their surrogates (a natural play on the fact there are people online who choose to live as either members of their opposite sex or hang out in Second Life).

Mostow does an adequate job of bringing together the 2005-2006 comic book series, and there are a couple of decent action sequences - it's just that sadly, Surrogates is a little like its robot versions of the characters; there's something missing behind the eyes, a spark of emotion and it taints the film throughout.

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