Movie Review – Self/less

TL;DR – An interesting premise that is completely wasted in its execution.

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Self/less. Image credit: Focus Features.


This is a bad film but what is worse is that there is actually an interesting idea here that could have been a great film, so this week we’re are going look at more a dissection of where this film went wrong. I should say that we will be getting into spoilery territory but since you should give this one a pass I don’t think it should be much worry.

First the basic premise of the film, it’s the present day (I think) and property billionaire Damian Hayes (Ben Kingsley) is dying of cancer with some unresolved issues with his daughter Claire (Michelle Dockery), when he is told about a magical/sciencey machine that will transfer his brain (memories etc.) from his dying body to a new body grown in a lab. In his new body (Ryan Reynolds) he discovers that shock horror everything was not as it seems (the bodies are not grown they were real people and his has a family).

Ryan Reynolds is trying but the script is giving him nothing to work with
Ryan Reynolds is trying but the script is giving him nothing to work with. Image credit: Focus Features

So this sounds like an interesting premise, or at least not a bad one, where this film fails woefully is in its execution. The first problem is pacing, it takes a long, long time for the film to start delivering on its setup, and then when the action does start it is progressing really haphazardly throughout the rest of the film. The film also struggles with finding the right tone because it is going for serious but come off more farcical. This is probably because the bad guys are almost comically inept. For example, after Damian finds his former life, the bad guys decide to kill the wife of Damian’s body’s (Natalie Martinez) because she saw him still alive. How do they so this, by staging a house fire, using a flamethrower, that burns the house from the outside, seriously, it’s that stupid. Or things only happen because they just so happen to be important later in the movie. Whether because of this or caused by this, the script is a mess.

Another problem is the casting/ or the directing, Ben Kingsley is an amazing actor which just does not work here, his relationship with his daughter falls flat because they just don’t feel that they are related, and since Ryan Reynolds spends the rest of the movie trying to imitate him, he too comes off flat. Also by setting most of the film in New Orleans we are consistently reminded of the significantly better films that have been set there.

You will see the big twist coming a mile away
You will see the big twist coming a mile away. Image Credit: Focus Features

There are some lights in the gloom that is this film, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen is delightful as his lost daughter Anna and whose nativity to what is going on is refreshing because it is one of the only believable responses in the film, also she brings out the best acting of Ryan Reynolds.

So in the end, this is a bad film with what could have been an interesting premise, which unfortunately fails abysmally, don’t waste your money here.

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Self/Less?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.

Directed by – Tarsem Singh
Written By – David Pastor & Alex Pastor
Starring – Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Matthew Goode, Victor Garber, Derek Luke, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Michelle Dockery & Ben Kingsley
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Ireland: 12A; NZ: M; UK: 12A; USA: PG-13

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.