Self/Less

"OK"

Self/Less Review


An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs out of steam. Which is far too early. Despite the always-engaging presence of Ryan Reynolds, this fantastical thriller is slick enough to hold the attention, but fails because it's unable to generate any interest in the central characters. And instead of exploring the fascinating issues the story raises, the filmmakers instead fall back on irrelevant violence.

The story opens as billionaire Manhattan businessman Damien (Ben Kingsley) discovers he has six months to live. But he has heard about a new medical procedure called "shedding", in which his mind is implanted in a lab-grown body. At $250 million, it seems like a bargain, so he signs up with Dr Allbright (Matthew Goode) and prepares to abandon his old life for a new one. He wakes up in New Orleans as Edward (Reynolds), and begins to adjust to his fit new 35-year-old body. But after he misses his adjustment meds one day he has a series of bewildering flashbacks that make him wonder about the true nature of the shedding process. Maybe his new body wasn't so "new" after all. So he goes looking for answers, which involves teaming up with Madeline (Natalie Martinez) and seeking help from his business partner Martin (Victor Garber).

There are all kinds of intriguing themes swirling through this set-up, including issues of identity and mortality. But writers David and Alex Pastor seem uninterested in exploring any of this in lieu of a much more simplistic morality tale packed with continual shoot-out and chase scenes, plus far too much body-swapping. All of this is produced to a very high standard by director Tarsem Singh, who has a reputation for seriously stylish cinema (see The Fall or The Cell). He adds a strong edge to every scene, with intriguingly haunting editing choices and camerawork that add plenty of tension and uncertainty even if the plot itself is utterly predictable.

Meanwhile, Reynolds gives a full-on performances that's emotionally resonant, even if his character isn't developed at all. The problem is that the only information we have about Damien is superficial: he makes ruthless business choices and has an estranged relationship with his environmental activist daughter (Michelle Dockery). But these things are mere plot points, not character details. And the same can be said about Goode's shady scientist and even Derek Luke as a new friend. In other words, everything about this story feels contrived and fake, so even if the movie looks great, it actually becomes less interesting with each twist and turn.

Watch the trailer for Self/Less here!




Self/Less

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th July 2015

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: Endgame Entertainment, Ram Bergman Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Peter Schlessel, James D. Stern

Starring: as Damian (jeune), as Damian, as Madeline, as Albright, as Claire, as Judy, as Martin, as Carl, as Anton, Mariana Paola Vicente as Leah

Also starring:

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