I had my own criteria when it comes to judging a film. One of them was if at anytime during a film I was complaining about a film being too-loud, then I’m not enjoying that film. “Surrogates” unfortunately, falls into this criteria. And it doesn’t take that much of it’s already miniscule running-time to make me notice its rather awkward background sound/music placement.
Sometime in the future, the lazy triumphs. In order to preserve life (and beauty) longer, a human controlled robots are invented to replace human in their daily life. These robots, or as the film christened it as surrogates are operated by people from the confines of their bedroom. They (the people) are able to sense what their surrogates sense, and entirely in control of their surrogates’ action. These surrogates are much much more durable than the natural biological being. It could be shit-wrecked by a truck, on board of a helicopter crash, get shot at, disfigured, etc and the only thing you’d lose is your bank account for a new model as a replacement to it. The idea hits off and billions are adopting this new technology.
Of course, there are always two sides of the coin. There are those who opposes the idea, thought that it was an abomination to the God’s creation, and they finally created their own society. A human-only society where entree are monitored, and machines aren’t allowed.
The myth was that whatever happened to the surrogates, the operator survives. Agent Greer (Bruce Willis) and agent Peters (Radha Mitchell) were soon introduced to a first fact that eliminates the said myth. Someone is having a technology to kill an operator through his/her surrogates and the double homicide that Greer and Peters investigated at the beginning of this film? It was the first two victims.
Although I’m in no place of talking about technicalities, I must say that technically, the film is (mostly) correct. When we saw agent Greer and Peters as their surrogates, I could see the awkwardness, and the uncomfortable feeling of appreciating something that is not, well, human is quite palpable. Their polished skins, their emotional facades, it was close to frightening. However, for me, it was a double-edged sword. Personally, when it comes to film, I valued drama over any genre. I valued subtle facial expressions, a tired, dejected look of *real* human with *real* problems (you know, as real as films could go) more than I could regard these mannequins with their polished skins and empty eyes. Therefore, most of the time, because the script requires us to see these surrogates much more than their human counterparts, I couldn’t enjoy this film as much as I would’ve liked.
Bruce Willis are once an action star, and perhaps the minds behind this film actually hopes that the lightning strikes twice. In my opinion, Bruce Willis is a real actor and a damn good one. No need to reignite his past as an action star. He was as close to an average Joe (vulnerable and susceptible to fear) as John McClane if compared to say, Stallone or the Governator on their roles and he is the one that drives the Sixth Sense forward. Not that Osment kid. In this film, he is probably the only thing worth mentioning. His silent expression when he observes his son’s room, his longing for a wife he truly loves, it all shows on the screen without him needing to say anything. I say this again, he is the only thing worth mentioning in this film and somebody, please, shoot Ms.Mitchell. Even if her screen-time was all for her as ‘surrogate,’ thus robotic acting is forgivable, perhaps even required, she still annoys me to no end.
On a final note, I think that this film is better suited as a thriller with a sci-fi backdrop rather than a thought provoking sci-fi as I believed, it was meant to be. Sadly, even as a thriller, the film just doesn’t work for me.
My rating: * / **** – Bruce Willis is the only thing that keep me in my seat. Fortunately, it wasn’t a long sit.