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Surrogates (2009)

"Before viewing" talks don't have spoilers, but since there's no "After viewing" talk for this one, comments may have spoilers. More»» by Randy Heffner

Is the film worth your time?

Surrogates is an interesting mix of science fiction, action, and crime genres with a bit of the romantic as well. I’d like to say that it explores our struggle to be authentic humans, but it more touches on this theme, leaving the exploration up to us. In Surrogates, the invention of remote controlled, life-like robots allows people to stay at home, sending their robot surrogates out into the real world. Whether to experience a dangerous thrill, to live another identity, or simply to avoid the hazards of daily life, living through one’s surrogate has distinct advantages.

Although Surrogates plays out its core concept strongly — that we can get attached to living surrogate lives — it doesn’t do so much investigation of how this attachment happens, why it is a bad thing, or the ways in which we live inauthentically in our real world every day lives. Whether through personal disguises that hide our real selves or money that allows us to pretend we’re something we’re not, we live surrogate lives — not to mention surrogate online lives. Being on the shorter side as films go, there was plenty of room for the film to have developed such themes more, to good effect, and become a great film. As it is, the filmmakers chose to lean more heavily toward simple entertainment. If you’re out for a fun ride, but one that shows you the entry to a path you can explore further on your own, Surrogates may hold some interest. Otherwise, don’t expect more than a fun ride with some rough edges. Running time: 88 min.

There is gunplay and fighting. Small bit of human bloodiness, no real gore — the damage to surrogate bodies is actually more intense. There is some mild intensity in the suspense.

  • Director: Jonathan Mostow
  • Screenplay: Michael Ferris & John Brancato, based on a graphic novel by Robert Venditti & Brett Weldele
  • Leads: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe
  • Cinematography: Oliver Wood
  • Music: Richard Marvin



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