By John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service
"Life, only better." So runs the advertising slogan
of the conglomerate whose technological breakthrough—the development
of a race of ideal-looking robotic alter egos remote-controlled by
their human owners' thoughts—provides the premise for the futuristic
thriller "Surrogates" (Touchstone).
Bruce Willis stars in a scene from the movie "Surrogates."
This generally intriguing cautionary tale begins with a series
of flashbacks showing us the profound, and seemingly positive, social
changes brought about by the use of these mechanical avatars. As more
and more people opt to remain in the safety of their homes and live
their lives vicariously through their surrogates, for example, the
crime rate dwindles to nothing.
So law enforcement authorities are shocked when the
college-aged son of the man who invented surrogacy—the
wheelchair-bound scientist is played, at different ages, by James
Francis Ginty and James Cromwell—is murdered. Adding to their
bewilderment is the fact that the young man died because his surrogate
was destroyed, something that was thought to be impossible.
Assigned to investigate the high-profile case, Boston-based FBI
agents Greer (Bruce Willis) and Peters (Radha Mitchell) gradually
uncover a conspiracy that appears to involve the above-mentioned
corporation, the Army, and even a group of anti-surrogate activists
whose dreadlocked leader calls himself the Prophet (Ving Rhames).
Off the job, Greer mourns for his little son, who was killed in
an auto accident, and longs to reconnect with his wife Maggie (Rosamund
Pike). But Maggie—whose grief has caused her to become addicted to
prescription pills—refuses to interact with him except via her
surrogate, fearing that Greer will reject her if he sees the graying,
ravaged figure she has become.
Director Jonathan Mostow's adaptation of Robert Venditti's
graphic novel The Surrogates dramatizes the perils of contemporary
technology, especially its potential to cut us off from human contact
and from the world of nature. Through Greer and Maggie's troubles, John
Brancato and Michael Ferris' script also explores the spiritual values
undergirding a successful marriage.
The film contains considerable action violence, drug use, brief
sexual situations, a couple of uses of profanity and a few crude and
crass terms. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting
classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of
America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material
may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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