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Surrogates

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The year is 2017 and a new technology has changed the way humans live their lives. Most people now spend their lives at home, going about their business as usual, using remote-controlled robotic bodies called surrogates. Commonly designed to resemble idealized versions of their operators, these surrogates have superhuman strength and agility and allow their operators freedom from pain and damage while they remain safely at home in their operator's chairs. The leading manufacturer of surrogates is a company called VSI or Virtual Self Industries. According to VSI, the use of surrogates has eliminated fear, racism and crime throughout society. The many benefits of surrogate technology have led to its widespread use and acceptance, but some believe these benefits have come at the cost of our humanity.

Surrogates (2009) follows FBI agent Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) as he investigates a murder; the first one in years. A young couple is attacked by a man who destroys their surrogates using a strange weapon. Greer and his partner, Peters (Radha Mitchell), seek out the victims' operators and are shocked to find that the young woman was actually a man and that the other victim was the son of Doctor Lionel Canter (James Cromwell), the inventor of surrogates. Both operators are found dead in their chairs, the mysterious weapon somehow bypassing their surrogate's built-in fail-safes.

The overweight man operating the attractive young woman surrogate is described by his landlady as a good tenant who never left his apartment. While possibly considered strange behavior in today's society, it would seem this man's agoraphobia is the norm in this world. Whether his liberal use of the freedom offered to surrogate users to alter their appearance is ...

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...ides to save only the human operators, allowing all surrogates in the world to be destroyed.

The premise of this film takes on an eerie plausibility considering the technologies used are not too far-fetched from what is possible today. For the sake of entertainment, certain liberties are taken to depict the society as a utopia, but an explanation for the apparent widespread wealth is not given. In several scenes, lifeless mannequins are used perhaps as symbols to be contrasted with their not quite as lifeless surrogate counterparts. Unfortunately the film does not explore many of the consequences of the premise in much detail, instead relying on a familiar plot line and frequent action sequences to entertain its viewers. Nevertheless, this fiction could soon become a reality and the implications of what it will mean to be human are critically important to consider.
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