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Self/less

‘Self/less’ explores the desire to live forever. This isn’t anything new as wanting eternal life has been a motivation for many fictional characters. Maintaining beauty is another added element with humanity’s ego in defying death and ageing seen everywhere. ‘Self/less’ mirrors its two-pronged title throughout the twist-laden tale. Whether those grasping at extended longevity are doing it for themselves or others is examined in a fairly interesting sci-fi thriller.

Dying of cancer, billionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) will do anything to continue living. Coming across a process called ‘shredding’, as perfected by the shadowy Doctor Albright (Matthew Goode), Hale thinks he’s found the cure. The procedure sees him putting his mind into a younger body. Waking up as literally a new person, Hale is given the new identity as Damian (Ryan Reynolds). Sent to live a new life, Damian discovers things aren’t as they seem. With mysterious images plaguing his thoughts, he sets out to uncover the truth despite increasingly being in danger.

‘Self/less’ is a reasonably involving thriller without being great. The idea of an old person in a young body trying to adapt to a new life is interesting. The effects of their new existence and of those around them is intriguing. Unfortunately these elements aren’t used as well as could be. Blame can go to the unfocussed script as well as Tarsem Singh’s lacklustre direction. While showing talent, Singh takes the least captivating path in conveying the story.

It’s no fault of the actors who do a good job. Reynolds in particular gives a strong performance as someone trapped in a situation of their own making. It’s easy following his character as he discovers new, unwanted revelations. The infrequent action scenes enliven proceedings which all too often feel drawn out. Occasionally ‘Self/less’ comes to a virtual standstill, robbing it of making it more than an average movie.

If one could live forever then one can forgive the hours used viewing films like ‘Self/less’. By no means terrible, the material needed better handling. It’s a fine enough sci-fi film although the plodding narrative may make one ponder where the time is going watching it.

Rating out of 10 5

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX

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