Ryan Reynolds continues his run of excellent performances in the otherwise so-so Self/Less Review
Self/Less is mystery, sci-fi thriller directed by Tarsem Singh and stars Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley and Matthew Goode.
The plot revolves around a billionaire named Damian (played by Ben Kingsley) who has incurable cancer and when he is offered the chance of transferring his consciousness into a fresh, younger body (known as “Shedding”), he jumps at the opportunity due to the little time he has left on this earth before the illness takes him. But it’s too late to change his mind once the transfer has happened, as Damian soon realises that the man at the helm of this revolutionary procedure known as Albright (played by Matthew Goode) has been keeping some deep dark secrets from him.
The younger body who we discovered to have previously belonged to a husband and father named Mark (played by Ryan Reynolds) causes problems for Damian’s consciousness as he begins to suffer with flashbacks showing a woman and child as the mind tries to integrate with the new body.
Self/Less runs to less than two hours but still suffers with pacing issues. The ending especially felt rushed and could have benefited with being a slightly longer runtime to wrap up the story.
Ryan Reynolds’ performance was once again outstanding as he continues to impress with his stand-out roles in all three films I have seen him in this year (The Voices, Woman in Gold, Self/Less). He managed to convey one man’s mind inside another man’s body extremely well, balancing a rich human element with constantly questioning his moral choices. As the film progresses and we learn more about the history of “Mark”, Reynolds really shines as his character’s true colours come out in a blaze of selfless glory (excuse the pun).
Matthew Goode as Albright is our main antagonist and he is frighteningly brilliant. Whilst being a slim figure that would otherwise not be intimidating, his voice and posture in his performance gave his character an incredibly sinister screen presence. I can honestly see Matthew Goode as a future Bond villain.
Whilst both Reynolds and Goode were fantastic, Sir Ben Kingsley had very little time to make an impact as his service was relatively short lived and was never revisited. It’s a real shame that he didn’t have a larger part to play as he is a legendary actor but didn’t have chance to hit the ground running.
What Self/Less did really well is mix a carefully concocted blend of mystery and action with drama and sci-fi. The tagline explains the sci-fi aspect well; “God created man. Man created Immortality.” Also, Goode’s performance brings a great air of mystery to the story which keeps you guessing throughout the movie. To conclude, Self/Less does a lot of things right in mixing several genres together and contains some terrific performances but ultimately falls short in both pacing and its conclusion.