Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Written by: David Pastor & Alex Pastor
Billionaire Damien Hayes (Ben Kingsley) is diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is preparing his arrangements when he learns about a process called “shedding” in which his consciousness is transferred into an artificially grown body. Hayes goes along with the procedure and his mind is swapped into a healthy body and now goes by the name Edward Hale (Ryan Reynolds).
Everything seems well as Hayes, now Hale relives the experiences of his youth by playing basketball and partying. Things change once he begins to not take his medication after the procedure and he begins to have hallucinations of a young woman and her daughter. This leads “Edward” on a journey to discover the truth about shedding and where did his new body actually come from.
I quite enjoyed myself with this film. The concept of body transfer isn’t new to science fiction, but it was nice to see it brought into some form of a real world setting. The film’s director Tarsem Singh, also directed the Jennifer Lopez thriller The Cell, a psychological thriller I felt was a tad bit underrated. So this type of movie is certainly in his wheelhouse. Stylistically, there isn’t too much to speak of on it. Nothing is terrible and nothing of note stands out.
In the acting category, Ben Kingsley is passable. He just playing a billionaire who hasn’t spent much time with his family. A character archetype we have all seen a billion times. I actually like Reynolds in this. Since he isn’t playing someone who is a wisecracking smart ass, he conveys the seriousness of the scenario on his face quite well. I didn’t feel like I was simply watching Ryan Reynolds whereas I felt I was watching Ben Kingsley and not his character.
About halfway through, the film brings up an interesting ethical question in addition to the film’s core concept. Sadly, it’s not totally expanded upon, but simply used as part of the plot. By film’s end it becomes a standard action film with standard action sequences. Again nothing of note here, it just would have been cool to see the concept carried throughout.
I saw this as a double feature with Ant-Man earlier in the day and it was a nice change of pace film to end a night with. Self/less is a pretty decent science fiction thriller.
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