Time Out rating:
<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5Rate this
Time Out says
Thu Sep 24 2009They’re the ultimate labour-saving device. You stay at home linked to a terminal, they go out and do your job. What’s more, you can plug into the buffed-up synthetic sexy bad self you always wanted to be. No wonder the advertisements claim it’s ‘Life…only better’. As Bruce Willis’s dogged police detective discovers in this dystopian procedural however, there just has to be a downside. His failing marriage is one thing, since he now only speaks to his estranged wife’s perenially perky surrogate (Rosamund Pike), but when he connects the killing of a party-going ‘surry’ with the death of its human master, the supposedly safe life of vicarious pleasure just got more dangerous for millions of plugged-in people.
With their too-perfect skin, and dead eyes the ‘surries’ are the stars here, chilling yet plausible incarnations of a desire to turn our entire lives into one big role-playing scenario. There’s a chuckle at our first glimpse of Willis’s hirsute robotic self, but the course of the story also highlights a residual longing for the everyday human connections this brave new world looks set to expunge. Essentially, Jonathan Mostow’s film is a terrific pop sci-fi conceit in search of a plot, and while the detective story uncovering a sinister conspiracy is a functional enough hook for sundry revelations and car chases, it’s also somewhat foursquare and predictable. The milieu though, is fascinating, the performances are adept at differentiating the human from the ‘surry’, and the jargon is inventive (the robots call us ‘meatbags’). The ideas probably have a bit more juice than the movie, but it’s still an alert piece of entertainment.
Author: Trevor Johnston