Sunday, October 11, 2009


Cast: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Ving Rhames
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Runtime: 104 min.
Verdict: Is just about as puzzled as me about that little extra thingy on Harsha Bhogle’s scalp. I like that.
Genre: Sci-fi, Thriller, Action

        Now don’t tell me you didn’t cringe when you saw Mr. Bhogle’s new avatar? I know, vanity does work in mysterious ways. And reader, I never did get the point of it. You see, when it comes to you and me we’re a couple of unknown faces, and if we have a little paunch hanging by our waistline, or a little patch of barren land we wish we could do away with, that is fine. I can understand that. You work out, day and night, and if you’re desperate you go to a clinic and pay for a little extra hair. And you turn up in a new place, with new folks, and it is like no one even knew you from before.
        Now I don’t get it when folks, about whom the whole world knows, turn up in a new avatar. Not that I wouldn’t desire a new avatar. I do, very much do, and I wish I looked like Lee Marvin or Jacques Kallis. But at the same time I would want to wipe off everybody’s memory of how I looked like before, and replace it with the new image. Getting me? With folks like Mr. Bhogle though, everyone knows it is artificial. Then why take the pains? I don’t seem to get that at all.
        Neither does Surrogates, a simplistic jab at the temptations of vanity. Based on a graphic novel I hope to read now, it is the kind of mediocre fare you should visit once in a while. You know, just to be in touch and all. Inside of it is a world where every human in the world, which is a roundabout way of saying every American, has grown so vain that a technology called surrogacy is the lifeline of everyday life. Folks stay down at home, reclined on chairs and beds and couches, with some kind of thingy attached to their eyes, while their surrogates, or avatars, or servant machines, which are nothing but the manifestations of the controller roam around. So it is not the actual person that goes to work but the surrogate. I don’t quite understand the logic. Surrogates might claim this as an invention to make its case against society, but I don’t quite buy it. You see, no invention goes against the human nature, and I don’t buy any line of thought that tells you humans will go so lazy so as to spend the rest of their lives within the confines of a room. Not Wall-E. Especially not with its reasoning. One can claim Surrogates has a stronger human emotion to back up its futuristic vision, and I’m still not convinced. You see, the way we work, we might not possess a quality but we sure as hell demand it from the folks we meet. Like say honesty versus pretension. I might be a smug pseudo-intellectual but god forbid any person speaks to me even with the slightest bit of air of pretension. Now if Surrogates really portrayed a plausible scenario, there is no chance of dating, no chance of love, and no chance of any degree of human interaction.
        So safe to say the film is a satire. Or at least the source is. Which I’m absolutely fine with. Only if it had the good sense not to pour in so much of melodrama. And family loss bullshit. There’s a murder mystery in there and the mystery part is stupid. The performances are uniformly embarrassing. The premise has a great movie within it, but one shouldn’t blame Touchstone for not finding it. When every major studio is busy minting money with hollow blockbusters, I guess it is only fair for the movie executives to try their bit too. Still a budget of $80 million is just too much. Touchstone, somebody out there is not worth their pay.

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