Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | September 29, 2009

Surrogates

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Directed by Jonathan Mostow, the movie stars Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell and Rosamund Pike. It is set in our world, not in an alternate reality. It is set in today. Due to a technology developed over a decade ago, people are now able to live life through surrogates. Surrogates are the perfected robot versions of humans. People don’t even have to leave their homes. All they do is to sit back, stay connected to their surrogates and control them. Surrogates go to work, fight crime, have sex. There hasn’t been a real crime-one that hurt a real person-until now. A very expensive and higly complex weapon has been developed. It does not only destroy the surrogate; but also kills its operator as well. And who better to suspect than the human rebels who are governed by their leader The Prophet and are passionately against this whole concept that they find unnatural and disgusting?

The movie involves a dramatic sub-story as well. FBI agent Greer (Bruce Willis) is not all that happy with his surrogate life. He is upset that he lives under the same roof with his wife yet she never leaves her room and only her surrogate communicates with her husband. He longs for their human selves to spend time together and when his surrogate is suspended due to “its” violation of the “only humans” territory, he decides to go out into the world and investigate the crime.

The movie has been adapted from a graphic novel and of course there is the same old debate going on about how the movie hasn’t done the novel justice. On the other hand, people who have liked the movie are usually the people who haven’t read the novel. The movie is not without its faults. Some plot twists feel rushed and the dramatic elements seem to overshadow the action at times. But overall, it is a solid movie. You do not have to be a science fiction fan to enjoy it. The world created is not that big of a stretch of imagination. There are millions of people who stay in their homes and spend most of their days playing interactive computer games and prefer to live in a fantastic world with their desired personas. The difference in the movie is that the personas live in the real world. But the result is pretty much the same.Alienation, detachment and numbness. People no longer take care of themselves. Who needs to bother when your good-looking, fit and healthy image can roam the streets? The movie is efficient in making you feel that numbness.

Bruce Willis also delivers a great performance. As the tagline of the movie suggests he is the only real thing outside in the real world- he is out there in all his vulnerability and he is brilliant as the humane FBI agent/husband.

The movie may not be perfect, but it is certainly powerful. Recommended.

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