Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “Self/less” which originally appeared here.
Billionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) is on top of the world until he runs into a problem he can’t solve, Cancer. His only hope is a new medical procedure called “shedding,” in which his consciousness is transferred to a healthy body. After Damian undergoes this procedure, he becomes a man named Edward (Ryan Reynolds). Once he attempts to start a new life in New Orleans, he starts to become ravaged by visions of his new body’s past. As he begins to investigate the origin of his new body, he learns the lengths that his creators will take to protect their procedure and keep their identities secret.
The film, I will admit, introduces an original concept that not many films have covered. It’s a shame that it does not stay with it for very long. We start off with older Damian coming to terms with where he is in his life and with his condition and then the film pivots to more of an action film as younger Damian/Edward investigates his roots through his visions and survive its resistance. It was a shame that more time wasn’t spent with the older version of Damian. This loss created a void in the story. It would have been better if we could have spent more time with him so his character could be more developed. From the little we got to see, he appears to not be that great of a person. If we knew more, we would have reason to root for him. The time spent during an unnecessary sequence in the middle could have helped with that. There is a lack of consistency in the character of Damian as well. The character is played by 2 different actors but their performances are not the same. There seems to not be any apparent, similar, alignment in mannerisms between the two Damians, they don’t act too similarly either. That could either be because of writing, Ryan Reynolds’ performance, and/or not too careful direction. The film had the chance to try to answer some philosophical questions relating to the value of human life or the morality of valuing a life over. When you start to wonder if this whole “shedding” procedure is even possible, you are forced to accept that it is. Instead of being about Damian coming to terms with his new body and life, it chooses the path of gun fights and car chases. This is the moment when the film falls into the realm of mediocrity. It isn’t revolutionary. The twists will not come as much of a surprise either. The film managed to keep my attention but I would of preferred it to cover more of the philosophical issues relating to the procedure. The film has a good idea but it could have been portrayed in a different/better way.