A dying billionaire arranges for his consciousness to be transferred
into a younger body, unaware of who the younger body used to be.
Directed by Tarsem Singh
Written by Alex Pastor and David Pastor
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley, Matthew Goode,
Natalie Martinez, Victor Garber, Michelle Dockery, Derek Luke
Earlier this year, we covered Tarsem Singh's The Cell on the Filmgazm Podcast. While not the greatest movie, it certainly set the tone for what Singh was trying to say in regards to what it means to be human. With Self/less, Singh builds on that message in a gripping, intriguing sci-fi thriller. Self/less may have a weird title, but the story is fascinating, the implications are terrifying, and the characters are realistic. If we are able to transfer our minds into the bodies of others, then who do we become? Is the old mind a part of us or its own separate person? These are just some of the ethical questions posed by Self/less.
Ben Kingsley is wealthy real estate tycoon Damian Hale, who is dying of cancer. He pays to have his mind transferred into what he is told is an empty vessel by the creator of this science, Dr. Albright (Goode). When he wakes up, Damian now calls himself Edward Kidner (Reynolds), but he has visions of a past life. Now believing the body to be a family man kidnapped by Albright, Damian embarks on a journey to find the man's family and put a stop to Albright's nefarious schemes. This movie really is a rollercoaster, beginning as a stoic drama and evolving into a full-fledged action thriller complete with a shadowy organization.
I think Self/less is an underrated action flick that features a solid, out of the box lead performance from Ryan Reynolds. While in no means perfect, the film does give us a unique look at immortality and what it implies in the grand scheme of things. I recommend checking it out. It's currently on Netflix, and may just be worthy of a second wind.