Director Jonathan Mostow’s Surrogates examines the nature of technology-fed isolation and the inherent dangers that it breeds, including fabricated personas, anti-social behavior, and living a lie, which are admirable issues to take on. The problem with the film isn’t with its subject matter, but in the execution and believability that the movie lacks. Surrogates poses a number of worthwhile questions to us, and sounds the alarm on the pervasive nature of technology, and it doesn’t do so through a shallow script or a hail of bullets. And Bruce Willis’ iconic action persona does its best to elevate the gripping nature of the issues the movie faces off with. However, where Surrogates falls short is in it’s unbelievable and almost surreal depiction of today, attempting to create a parallel universe for its premise to take shape in.
According to the story, in the near future, technology allows humans to live their lives through robots they call surrogates. Humans have essentially cocooned themselves in their homes, never venturing outside. Instead, they explore life through their surrogate bodies, who may or may not resemble them, in essence, creating their ideal selves. Tom Greer (Willis) and his partner Peters (Radha Mitchell) are FBI agents assigned to investigate the destruction of two surrogates that has also caused their human hosts to be killed.
The use of surrogates is not universally endorsed with some human, who have created enclaves living in technology and machine-free zones, which are led by a man called The Prophet (Ving Rhames). Greer believes the rebellious humans have put their hands on a weapon that could fundamentally change society, though he begins to wonder if that might be a good thing, leading to a series of plot twists that culminate in society inevitably reevaluating its use of the powerful technology that makes surrogacy possible.
Where Surrogates does hit a home run is with its superior Blu-ray presentation, which enhances the adventure & suspense, and makes for enjoyable viewing overall. Touchstone mines the movie’s look and action sequences to produce a high-quality home video release for an entertaining but at times touch and go film.
- The Audio Commentary features director Jonathan Mostow discussing the variations between Top Shelf’s original graphic novel and his adaptation. I found the track informative and thorough, and a solid addition to the extras.
- I Will Not Bow music video by Breaking Benjamin.
- A More Perfect You: The Science of Surrogates is a featurette in which the cast, crew and those familiar with the technology, discuss the production and introduce real-world inventions and advancements that point to a future very similar to that in the film’s story line.
- Breaking the Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes to Life is an overview of Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele’s graphic novel, and includes animated panels, interviews with the comic’s creators, and more.
- Four Deleted Scenes expand the Surrogates’ lexicon a bit, but don’t offer anything of real value story-wise.
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Writers: Michael Ferris, John D. Brancato, based on the comic by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele
Cast: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, James Francis Ginty, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames, Jack Noseworthy, Devin Ratray, Michael Cudlitz, Jeffrey De Serrano, Helena Mattsson
Original Release Date: September 25, 2009
Blu-ray Release Date: January 26, 2010
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