Saturday, June 18, 2011

Film Review--Surrogates

starring Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames, and James Earl Jones as The Beav.

In this future society, humans remain indoors and interact through surrogate selves, robots under direct neural interface with their owners.  An FBI agent (Willis) is called upon to investigate the matter of a young man who was murdered through his surrogate.

One of the best things about this film is the concept.  It is, to me anyway, a vision of a not entirely unattractive future life, although I slightly prefer the "Jondroid" concept of another self I can send to fulfill obligations and drudgery tasks, but I'll take what I can get.   Granted, this life does not come without its detriments and those are fairly well laid out in the film.  Another thing going for the film is that it is generally entertaining and diverting.
The downsides?  Well one of them is an almost a system-wide virus in the modern thriller genre: all the so-called "surprises"...aren't.  You can see them all coming if you simply adopt the binary mindset of "no one here is who they seem to be."  I'm not trying to give out any spoilers, merely stating a fact.  Secondly, there is an overall, in my opinion, broadcast of thinly-veiled Luddite propaganda inherent in the delivery of the surrogate concept.  "We're losing our human soul!" and all that rot.  That may be an eisegesis of my own doing, resultant of a first-blush response, but I'm making it anyway.  This is the kind of attitude that casts an unjust shadow over transhumanist concepts.  Technology, when used creatively and judiciously, is not a threat.  It is the next step in evolution.  Again as I always caution, of course there will be a few undesirable outcomes.  There always is with any innovation.  But that is how progress is made.  The supposed "message" in the film really took me out of the otherwise entertaining and thought-provoking aspects.  It's not often I say that but this movie managed to make me feel that way.  Therefore, it's just kinda so-so in my humble o.

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