| 116 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Synopsis: In this provocative psychological science fiction thriller, an extremely wealthy man (Academy AwardÆ Winner Ben Kingsley) dying from cancer undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds). But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the bodyís origin and the organization that will kill to protect its cause.
Review: What would you do with the chance to be young and beautiful again? That is the question posed in the summer flick Self/less. From partying to women to fast cars, the sky is the limit if you have the chance to do it all again with the knowledge you have gained in life already. A new life, a new body, a fresh start is just a procedure (and a small fortune) away. But what is the price for such a once-in-a-lifetime offer? While this sci-fi thriller seeks to answer these questions, it stays just below the marking of a becoming a great movie.
The wealthy and powerful business man Damian (Ben Kingsley) has everything one could want, except more time. After being diagnosed with a form of terminal cancer, Damian decides to undergo a radical and extremely secretive procedure to place his consciousness into the body of a genetically composed specimen (which is a pretty accurate way to describe hunky Ryan Reynolds). With the procedure being a success, Damian starts to live the high life in his new bodyÖ until he begins to see strange things. The head scientist of the company, Dr. Albright (Matthew Goode) never gives Damian a straight answer on any of his concerns. Once Damian discovers the shocking truth about where his new body came from, he begins a mission that could put himself and those he cares about into great trouble.
This film has a great premise. It is slightly reminiscent of an episode of The Blacklist season 1, mixed with a Twilight Zone feel, and the chases of a Transporter movie. Self/less makes a passable movie cocktail. The main downside however, it the overall lack of focus on the science fiction of the premise which is a shame considering how intriguing it is. The story loses the plot substance for action and mystery. Damian has a daughter named Claire (The sublime Michelle Dockery) but their relationship from what we are shown is the stereotypical ìDad was more focused on business and money than on me, so Iím a bitter and distant daughterî. The film would have benefitted from focusing more on that relationship instead of only giving them two paltry scenes together.
There are some positives to the movie. While the story did not have much depth, the cast certainly worked very well with what they were given. I thoroughly enjoyed Victor Garberís supporting role as Damianís longtime friend Martin. He portrays a wide range of emotion throughout the film, but does not stand out too much to take away from Kingsley or Reynolds. The lighting and mood setting were expertly executed. From lush country fields to urban jungles, the cinematography definitely gets praise.
The movie is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, some sexuality, and language. The rating is very fair for the content of the film. The sexuality is only for a brief scene where young Damian is enjoying the clothed company of a woman. The violence and language are not overused. I do not think anyone under 13 would care to see this movie anyway. This is a good early-bird special kind of flick, but not worth paying full evening price for.
I give Self/less a two and a half out of five red pills. Much like the filmís storyline, the concept is cool and interesting on the surface but once dug into, it is easy to spot issues or places where your questions donít get answers.