“Surrogates”
 
“Surrogates” is a parable.  In the not-too-distant future, they start making humanoid clone-figures to do very dangerous things, like dismantle bombs, then soldiers to fight in live combat.  These “surrogates” are operated by a human, strapped into a special chair equipped with electrical leads to the brain, with audio and optics, so that the surrogates actually see and do on behalf of the human.  The designer of the complex technology, Dr. Canter (James Cromwell), himself confined to a wheelchair, originally wanted to make it possible for other “physically-challenged” people to be able to live a more “normal” life vicariously.  Well, it doesn’t take long for the technology to develop that makes these surrogates available to a much larger populace.  You can send your “virtual self” to work, for example, in your place, particularly if your work happens to be dangerous, like police or FBI, and your “in the flesh” self can be safely at home, operating your surrogate.  After that, it’s a small step toward re-fashioning your surrogate in such a way as to make it a faster, stronger, leaner, younger version of yourself.  Why not? 
Before long, the streets are filled with the young and the plastic.  Everyone you see is beautiful, youthful, and slim.  The problem is, they’re all surrogates.  The “real” versions are at home, locked up in their dark rooms in their recliners, expertly operating their surrogates, but getting fatter, lazier, and more unkempt by the day.  Many are turning into such hermits that they rarely even venture outside any more, and when they do, they suddenly find that they are subject to agoraphobia, panic attacks, and that dreaded sense that you’re now a stranger in a world that has completely passed you by.  For most, it’s just easier to stay inside and hide. 
Greer (Bruce Willis) is a big-city homicide detective who has fallen into the habit, along with everyone else, of sending his surrogate to work every day, but he’s beginning to sense that something is terribly wrong.  After they lost their son, his wife Maggie (Rosamund Pike) won’t even see him anymore, except in her surrogate form, claiming that it’s easier for her this way.  His partner Peters (Radha Mitchell) seems not to be herself, either, and Greer suspects that someone has figured out how to inhabit someone else’s surrogate, which can lead to all manner of confusion.
Greer investigates the destruction of a surrogate that has apparently resulted, for the first time, in the vicarious death of its operator, as well, and that means that all the ground rules have changed.  And somewhere in the mix is a random colony of “real” humans, led by their ranting “prophet” (Ving Rhames), who ban all machines from their sovereign “reservation” altogether:  violent independent roughnecks as the keepers of normalcy.
Yes, we can see how, incrementally, all of this could easily happen.  As we become more and more attached to our machines and more enamored with our technology, in a sense, we give up more and more of our “real” humanity.  Ah, after seeing this movie, being old, fat, and bald never felt so cool before.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas