Review: Self/less

By Christian DiMartino

I have never been a huge fan of Tarsem Singh’s work. Visually, the man knows what he’s doing, which is also part of the problem. Pretty much all of his films (that I’ve seen at least) are all dressed up with no place to go. All of the elements are in play, but he doesn’t know how to handle them. This is pretty much the problem with his latest film, Self/less.

Self/less was ripped to shreds over the summer. I personally don’t think it’s all that bad, but yet it should be way better. It aspires to be a great sci-fi thriller like Inception or Total Recall, but yet it never knows how to express its ideas.

The film revolves around a dying real estate mogul named Damian (played by Ben Kingsley). When his friend (Victor Garber) tells him of a body-transformation thingy-majigger, he decides to take him up on it. So he goes into get the procedure (the guy running the show is a man named Albright, played to cliche villainy by Matthew Goode), and it happens within the blink of an eye.

When Damien wakes up he is… a different person, played by Ryan Reynolds. He has switched his consciousness, and is now young again. He is forced to take pills and what not, but for a minute things seem all fine and dandy. Until he comes to the realization that maybe this organization is much shadier than they originally appeared, and that’s when things kind of fly off the rails.

I was always entertained by Self/less, but yet as I watched it, I couldn’t help but feel like there should be more. Once the cat is out of the bag, it is basically a run-of-the-mill action thriller with car chases and what not. It should have amounted to more.

It is a film that toys with interesting ideas, but doesn’t build on them like it should. Also, even though the two actors are playing the same character, sort of, Reynolds doesn’t really match up with Kingsley, who, might I add, is severely under-used here. By the time the switch happens, it just feels as if Kingsley’s personality is thrown away. Perhaps that was the point. I don’t know, just something I noticed.

I still wouldn’t call it terrible though. Even though it doesn’t live up to what it has to offer, it still entertains for two hours. You could spend your time in worse places… and in better.

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