Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
From Director Tarsem Singh (The Fall, Mirror Mirror) comes his seventh Film Self/Less, which begins in promising form, but unfortunately finishes a bit too predictably. Screenwriting Brothers Alex & David Pastor have attempted to bring us an interesting supernatural Story, but it too often gets bogged-down in discussion of morality that make this intriguing body-swapping Thriller less compelling.
Self/Less focuses on Damian (Ben Kingsley) a wealthy man who is suffering from cancer and finds a business card inside his jacket that informs him that there is a way to save himself. This is where he meets Albright (Matthew Goode), the man who inherited the knowledge behind shedding – the process of transferring the essence of a person into a healthier, unused body. However, unbeknownst to Damian is that the body he is about to inherit is not exactly a completely disposed body, but rather one of someone who sacrificed their body for the greater good of their family. This is where we meet Young Damian (Ryan Reynolds) shortly after Old Damian sheds into his body, as flashbacks/memories start to occur to Young Damian recalling a life he was never privileged to knowing. This is where the problems start to occur as Damian – both young and old – start to realize that their two worlds are no longer separated and have to make the right decision. That is, to reunite Damian with his Family and let Old Damian die or create a new life and continue the legacy that Old Damian has created from his new, younger body.
The performances drive Self/Less and there are some fantastic ones witnessed from the talented Ensemble including that of Matthew Goode, Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez (Young Damian’s wife) and Victor Garber (Old Damian’s business partner). Reynolds has proven in the past that certainly he has the acting chops and does so again here – although we eagerly are awaiting his return to Action. Matthew Goode who has demonstrated that he can play the Villain in the past, does so again with much conviction in this Film. Natalie Martinez and Victor Garber both are excellent in their supporting roles both reflecting upon the characterization of Damian that they were aligned to, showcasing their struggles and dilemmas that face them both in relation to the consequences of their decisions.
Despite working as an Action-Thriller with a decent amount of action sprinkled throughout, it is the many interweaving Plot Lines and timeline movements via flashback which reduce the momentum needed to gain our undivided attention.
VVS Films release Self/Less in theatres on Friday, July 10, 2015.