Movie Review: Surrogates
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Year of Release: 2009
Genre: Action / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Run Time: 89min
Set in the near future Surrogates depicts as society where most have chosen to live their lives through robotic “surrogates”. A cop, Tom Greer (Bruce Willis), is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates.
Surrogates is on a long list of movies over the past 2-3 years that I meant to go see at the cinema but never did. I was intrigued by the concept (which is similar to Gamer) and I quite like Bruce Willis as an actor. So has it been worth the wait? In short it has but there are one or two things that I didn’t like but more on that later. The film used the surrogate/remote operator concept far better than Gamer in my opinion and the back story of how things came about used recent media stories on cybernetic enhancements to help flesh things out.
The premise is rather simple. Initially created as a way to help the disabled live “normal” lives by having a robotic surrogate live it for them humanity decided everyone would be better off if we all lived that way. Though some, known as Dreads, rebelled and refused to live via surrogates the rest of humanity embraced the concept. You could live your life without limits or fear as, if your surrogate bit the dust, you just get another one. This concept being greatly portrayed by the military use of surrogates where no human life is lost. However someone’s found a way to kill both surrogate and its user. Greer and his partner are assigned to the case but as they dig the more complex and dangerous things get.
The story is well paced shifting from fast-paced action to the more leisurely investigative pieces. The movie is also just about the right length; at 89 mins it’s not too long to make you hope the end is coming but long enough to close out the story. Speaking of which I found the story well thought out with some nice twists to keep you intrigued. The only parts where, for me, it failed was some of the more sentimental scenes involving Willis and his wife Maggie (Rosamund Pike). I also felt the role of “The Prophet” played by Ving Rhames was underused. Given his apparent leader of the “free” people he was scarcely used.
Overall it’s a decent movie and worth the watch. There are also some good supporting roles from Radha Mitchell & James Cromwell playing Greer’s partner Peters and the creator of surrogates Dr. Lionel Canter respectively and it doesn’t try to be too clever either.