Surrogates (2009) – 6/10 science-fiction action thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Bruce Willis: Greer
Radha Mitchell: Peters
Rosamund Pike: Maggie
Boris Kodjoe: Stone
James Francis Ginty: Canter
James Cromwell: Older Canter
Ving Rhames: The Prophet
Writer (Original Graphic Novel): Robert Venditti
Writer (Original Graphic Novel): Brett Weldele
Writer (Screenplay): John Brancato
Writer (Screenplay): Michael Ferris

Surrogates (2009)

In a world where almost everybody uses a surrogate (a robot perfectly communicating with their brain) to conduct their daily life, FBI Agent Tom Greer is stunned to find himself investigating a homicide (there hasn’t been one for years). And it’s not just the crime, it’s the manner: a surrogate operator was killed when their surrogate was killed; something that cannot possibly happen.


Feeling oddly broken, this takes some nice ideas and doesn’t waste them exactly, but zips through so fast that it feels like it doesn’t make sense (the movie is under ninety minutes long). The two super-powered action sequences are edited to barely-functioning oblivion as is the law in 2009. However, it is genuinely refreshing not to have that most ridiculous and well-worn of plot devices, the machine that gains sentience (the technology concept is clear and adhered to and we get all sorts of other hope-you-won’t-notice continuity shortcuts), and it is remarkable how welcome the true human faces of beardy Bruce Willis and a fat, bearded dude are amongst the not-quite-human surrogate population. It provides an odd sense of relief, probably a bit like seeing someone real after looking at the unsettling manufactured face of 2009 Nicole Kidman for too long. Along with that feeling, it definitely does strike an emotional nerve (I remembered Willis’ character name after the movie, a good sign), albeit weakly, but the technical and editing deficiencies nearly stopped this movie working at all.

This movie contains strong violence, strong fantasy violence, unpleassant scenes.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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