Friday, September 25, 2009

Mini-Review: Surrogates (2009)

Surrogates
2009
89 minutes
Rated PG-13

by Scott Mendelson

Surrogates
is pretty good and occasionally great. It's a lean, thoughtful B-movie and is another solid triple for Jonathon Mostow (Breakdown, U-571, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). I don't know why Disney has treated it like a near-dump, but it's absolutely worth seeing. It has similarities with I, Robot (free tip - keep James Cromwell away from futuristic technology), but like that picture it's at heart an old-fashioned film noir detective film. It sets up a real world where humanity lives their lives through robot doubles and takes real care to detail how such a society would function. It is NOT an action thriller. The one big chase set piece, at around the one-third mark, is the weakest scene in the film as it feels arbitrarily tossed in. The finale feels a little rushed, which may be explained by the mere 89-minute running time, but the movie works. It's well-written, well-acted, and genuinely compelling on an emotional and philosophical level. It is a solid piece of genre film-making, the kind of thing we used to take for granted.

Grade: B
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SPOILERS - First of all, do not watch the trailer as it does in fact give away basically the finale of the film. Second of all, without going into details, the film once again takes the same tract as other 'what-if?' sci-fi parables (such as The Sixth Day or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) that consenting adults may not have the right to make their own decisions about new forms of technology. We may believe that cloning or having the ability to erase bad memories may be immoral or at least disturbing, but I'm always unnerved by films that basically state that intelligent adults of sound judgment do not have the right to partake in said technologies if they see fit. Maybe it's the social libertarian in me, but I've always believed in peoples' legal right to make bad decisions regarding their own welfare.

4 comments:

Byron the afro-filmviewer said...

unfortunately I've seen the trailer constantly. every film I've seen has had this as the trailer. bah!

Rapidshare Films said...

Looks interesting. Good to see Bruce Willis returning to the sci-fi genre. I doubt it will be as good as ‘12 Monkeys’ (one of my all time favorites), but I’ll still give it a try.

Rapidshare Films said...

Looks interesting. Good to see Bruce Willis returning to the sci-fi genre. I doubt it will be as good as ‘12 Monkeys’ (one of my all time favorites), but I’ll still give it a try.

Byron the afro-filmviewer said...

unfortunately I've seen the trailer constantly. every film I've seen has had this as the trailer. bah!

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