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Surrogates

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Chris.S
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I rented Surrogates last night. Just wanted to give a bare-bones review because I thought it could have gone into some real depth exploring the technological benefits of machines to man and the immoral nature of faking reality. But these two themes were very superficial.

The start of the film seems to go in a positive direction: technology is good and benefits man. Surrogates present the best outward appearance possible; keep their users absolutely safe from any harm possible in everyday life; and even drop military casualties down to very nearly zero. Crime is also at or near zero. Everyone is happy. Except for the hero, an FBI agent played by Bruce Willis, who is depressed and disappointed with where his marriage is going. He and his wife spend all hours in their surrogates, or "surries", and have little to no personal contact since the death of their son in a car accident. The implication here is that these 2 people, at least, are hiding behind their surries to block out their grief and fake reality.

One antagonist, played by Ving Rhames, is the leader of a group of people who despise the use of technology and seek to go back to a pre-industrial way of life. This group is shown to depend on farming and horse-carts and live in a sort of commune, walled away inside larger cities. The movie doesn't go into too much depth here regarding what kind of life these anti-technology folk live, but there are a couple small parts that imply that violence is also a common part of life here (at least with Rhames' character and his henchmen). Rhames' character uses spiritually-laden sermons and radio messages to broadcast the evil vileness of surrogates and how they are faking reality.

The main antagonist is the creator of surrogates. He intends to destroy all surrogates using a weapon that also kills the surrogate operator. It's Willis' job to stop him, and he succeeds. However, after blocking the harmful effects to the users, Willis follows through with the main villain's plan - destroying a billion or so surrogates. This part really annoyed me. Willis' character is shown to be at least virtuous enough to overcome his own physical and emotional pain and still get all the bad guys, yet becomes a bad guy himself. One character, who actually refuses to use a surrogate, even explicitly states to Willis' character that those surrogates are property and that destroying them is entirely wrong.

The ending scene then goes on to show all the shut-in surrogate operators going outside to see what happened, walking among the disabled machines. And shows Willis' character getting back in touch with his wife.

Basically, the movie kind of refuses to make a point and stays neutral. I'm a fan of Bruce Willkis, but this was very disappointing. The writers and everyone else could have done a much better job. Maybe I'll have to read the comics.

Edited by Chris.S
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I don't think Ving was anti-technology so much as anti-surrogates. Maybe it's because I didn't get an anti-technology feeling from the movie, but I liked Surrogates. I think people can become overreliant on certain technologies, specifically when it comes to the irrational point that you can't even go outside or be seen by your spouse without it.

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