Ailing billionaire Damien (Ben Kingsley) discovers a secret procedure known as Shedding, which involves transferring his consciousness to a younger body, and decides to go through with the risky operation. But he quickly realises all is not as it initially seems. Suffering from vivid hallucinations, Damien, now in his more youthful body and with a new name (played by Ryan Reynolds), must use the visions to uncover the truth about the shady company which performed the operation.
Self/less, a remake of a 1966 Rock Hudson picture called Seconds, is thoroughly entertaining for the first 15 minutes or so. Ben Kinglsey is by far the best thing about the entire movie, so of course he’s only in it for a quarter of an hour. He could have done without the phoney American accent, but even that doesn’t stop his ever so brief appearance from being the absolute highlight of a film that squanders most of its best ideas to replace them with unexciting chases sequences.
Reynolds maintains a confused expression for the majority of the runtime as he tries to make sense of what’s going on and, presumably, why he signed on for this dreck. The biggest flaw of Self/less is that it doesn’t know what genre to fall into, wildly swaying from an a sci-fi story with minimal intrigue to an action movie that doesn’t excite. Reynolds is still as unconvincing as ever as an ‘tough guy’, while Natalie Martinez is horribly miscast as younger Damien’s wife, meaning there’s zero on screen chemistry between the pair. Matthew Goode rounds off a trio of dull leads and simply isn’t mysterious or menacing enough as the villain.
It’s also far, far too long for the simplistic story it’s trying (and failing) to tell. – 120 minutes of Reynolds realising plot points that are predictable from the outset is no fun for anyone and to reach a conclusion that makes absolutely no sense is frankly insulting.
Ultimately, there’s not much point to watching Self/less past the scene of Reynold’s introduction. You’d have already seen the best parts, and (apart from a few underwhelming turns) it plays out in a largely predictable manner.
Self/less is worth/less.
Ben Kingsley, for the short time he's in it
Fails to convict itself to one genre, ironically resulting in an identity crisis