Review: Self/less (2015)


In a summer that’s already given us some very dumb movies like Terminator Genisys and Fantastic Four, we are treated to yet another one. Self/less – directed Tarsem Singh, the guy behind that awful Snow White movie, the overly grotesque The Cell and the idiotic Immortals – follows the story of real estate mogul Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley), a very rich and powerful man who is dying of cancer. His only hope of survival is to undergo a radical medical procedure called shedding that transfers his conscious into a healthy body. After the procedure, Damian, now called Edward (Ryan Reynolds), starts a new life in New Orleans, but he’s plagued by disturbing images. When he delves into Edward’s mysterious origin, he learns that some will kill to keep it secret.


If you’ve seen any of Tarsem Singh’s films you’ll know they’re almost all visually alluring but narratively insipid. Self/less is probably his best film to date, but believe me, that is no compliment. The film like all Singh movies is also bogged down by a weak and poorly structured script, the premise is undoubtedly intriguing but the screenwriters seem to lose themselves whenever they try to explore interesting ideas. While there isn’t anything particularly bad about this movie, there certainly isn’t enough good either. The biggest crime it commits is that it’s just really, really bland and unremarkable. It seems like someone stole Tarsem’s body as well because this movie isn’t even as visually flamboyant as some of his other films and the execution is just tepid. Not to forget, it’s paced like a snail, meandering and tedious. The film’s only supposedly exciting set-pieces are generic action sequences out of every action movie ever made that are so dull they’d put you to sleep before they get you even the slightest bit excited.


The only good thing about the film are the performances. Kingsley, despite having a mere fifteen minutes of screen-time, manages to infuse the film with gravitas, nuance and empathy, all while carrying an incredibly distracting Middle-Eastern accent. Ryan Reynolds gives a serviceable performance as well, playing the younger version of Kingsley’s character. He is tasked with the tough job of carrying the movie and really does his best with the lackluster material he has to work with. However, the best performance of the movie comes from Matthew Goode who steals the show as the smooth and shady British scientist named Albright. Goode does the rare thing of making you care for his character even though you’re supposed to hate him.

Ultimately though it’s not enough because Self/less is just far too bland. It’s dull, not particularly great to look at, overly boring and all in all, just mediocre.


Also, this is my 100th post on this site, I want to thank you all who take the time to read my stuff and comment. It really means a lot.



24 responses to “Review: Self/less (2015)

  1. You said it man, this was purely forgettable stuff. I liked Reynolds enough but like you say, the writing just let him and everyone down considerably.

    Way to go on the milestone man. 100 posts and counting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a very dumb movie indeed. I think I gave even less rating than you as not only is the plot grattingly bad, it also has the zero-charisma actor Reynolds in the lead whilst they wasted perfectly good actors like Ben Kingsley and Matthew Goode. Btw, I think Tarsem’s best film is The Fall IMHO.


  3. Pingback: The Blazing Reel Summer 2015 Scorecard | The Blazing Reel·

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