Oh hey, look at that! A movie title with two clear meanings so it probably means both!
Let’s see, Self/Less. Let’s look at it without the slash first, because that is easier. Selfless. So someone in this movie will do something very selfless for other people. Okay, cool, sounds like a hero.
Self/Less. Meaning maybe, that someone has less of a self. Maybe no self. Does someone lose their self in this film (and not just to the phat beats on the radio)? That’d be the easy guess.
In other news, this is like the fourth movie for Ryan Reynolds this year. Save some acting for the rest of us, jeez!
Now go to your room and think about what you have done.
Before we get to Mr. Reynolds, let’s first talk about Damian (Ben Kingsley), a NYC real estate tycoon who amassed a huge fortune, and you know, built a lot of buildings. He is the head of a big company, kind of a shitty person, and has a bad relationship with his daughter, Claire (Michelle Dockery). He also has the cancers!
Thankfully, science is here and the rich can benefit! A group, led by Dr. Albright (Matthew Goode), wants to give those great thinkers a second chance and some extra years. They can grow bodies, transfer the mind of the great into the body of a young man, giving them more time to revolutionize the world! They would have to give up their past behind, of course, but they’d leave a small fortune for them to do whatever they want and become great again!
So now Damian is in a younger body (Reynolds), but it takes some time to get used to it. He has to go through rehab, to have his mind figure out how to use his body. He also gets strange flashes of hallucinations that are a side effect, but hey, they have pills to make those go away too! Yep. Life is awesome. Surely nothing is sinister about this operation.
Also featuring Brendan McCarthy, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Natalie Martinez, Victor Garber, and Derek Luke.
Hey man. You got something on your face.
Self/Less is one of those movies that likes to pretend it is smart and dealing with deep philosophical theories, when in reality, it is a dumb bad action movie. Yes, this psychological thriller drama is secretly just a bad action movie. After all, it didn’t have enough action to just be an action movie. Maybe 20-30% of the film is action movie, where the other percentage lies in the drama ethics focused feature. Unfortunately, the action was the worse part, because when it started, it seemingly came out of nowhere. Suddenly, new Damian is super strong, breaking toilets, busting down doors and patio decks just by running through them. He becomes a super hero, just because why not.
If the film eliminated most of the action and instead focused on the human elements, delving just a little bit into the consequences of their actions, this could have been a smart and through provoking film. Instead it is dumbed-down. The main character’s actions are seemingly completely random. He seems to give himself justification for going on an action-spree at the end, killing a lot of people, when ethically they aren’t even doing something that bad. This is a film where just some bad communication causes all of the problems, but at least half of that stems from the antagonist refusing to even listen.
Shit, even the whole sub plot involving figuring out what was inside the drug ended up being super pointless. The filmmakers must have had only a loose idea on what they wanted in a movie, then filled it with bad science and terrible motivations hoping it would bring in the summer blockbuster crowd.
I think what I am most disappointed in with this film is that the acting wasn’t even bad. Sure, I couldn’t understand everything Kingsley said early on, but he was an old cliche dying man. But Reynolds was actually pretty good in this film, but the acting is wasted on the terrible story. Self/Less is a movie that will end up being completely forgettable in a few months time, which I am looking forward to doing.
1 out of 4.