(PG) Ben Kingsley, Ryan Reynolds and Matthew Goode
Self/Less is a science fiction, action-packed thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat for the entire film. It is technically complex, and pushes you to think (similar to Inception or Interstellar), but also has a lighter humours side (thanks to the inherent amazingness of Ryan Reynolds). Most importantly, it’s clever. Director Tarsem Singh has combined these traits with a great cast and characters in order to explore a darker side to the human nature, and our inherent fear of the most inevitable and certain aspect of our existence – death.
Damien Hale (Ben Kingsley) is rich, successful, and in control of the most power real estate empire in the Western world. When he discovers he only has weeks to live, he decides to take a risk with a new technology called ‘shedding’. It is not an easy venture though, as the death must be obvious and public so that Damien can start an entirely new life. Damien is also told by the head of the Shedding program, Dr Albright (Matthew Goode), that his new and younger body was grown in a lab, and he must take pills every day for many months to avoid rejection. With his new life in New Orleans, Damien is able to start over as a handsome young man (Ryan Reynolds). He has money, women, and a new start. After forgetting one day to take his pill though, Damien discovers the shedding program is not all as it seemed. As he fights to discover the truth behind the program, Damien learns that the promise of immortality comes for a far greater cost that he ever imagined.
Singh has really hit the nail on the head with Self/Less. We are after all, the only being on earth that is aware of its own impending death. We know at some point, we are going to kick the bucket – and there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop it. But what if there was? This is what Singh cleverly asks each and everyone one of us with Self/Less. If you could, what would you do to extend your life by centuries? Would you live forever? ‘Imagine what we could do with immortality’, as Albright puts it. That is the most powerful statement that Singh backdrop as the entire plot for Self/Less.
Sure this futuristic ‘body swapping’ dystopian theme has been featured in an abundance of Hollywood films (think Transcendence for example), but none have narrowed it down like Singh has to a simple statement or question about one person. Singh has created a character who starts off as a totally un-relatable to the normal every day person, but ends up becoming a representation of our constant struggle between sacrifice and selfishness. Not only that, Singh targets the ambition that I think most of us hold to ‘leave something behind’ in order to feel fulfilled with the life we have lived, and have the future somehow remember us. Singh has Dr Albright once again pulls at the fabric of this hope when he says, “people will insist that your buildings will make you immortal. Now as you slip away tell me, do you feel immortal?”
I loved Self/Less. Is that heavily due to the fact that Ryan Reynolds is my ultimate bad-boy-hunk celebrity crush? Perhaps. Along with the depth, creativity and thought provoking nature of the film, Reynolds is the one that kept me totally glued to the screen. Most of the time though, it wasn’t even due to his jaw dropping good looks (which if you have seen Reynolds with his top off, you would find this statement immensely hard to believe). Singh made a very smart choice with Reynolds – his wit, sarcasm and laid-back general nature allows audience to connect with him on screen, which made me feel even more personal effected by his decisions and sacrifices.
The Internet will tell you not to see this film. Shockingly it has only received an average of one star. ONE STAR! I absolutely disagree. It doesn’t matter what your film genre preference is, Self/Less is a 2015 must see. Action? Check. Science Fiction? Got it. Romance? Always. Plus, if you love a good-looking piece of man candy parading around on screen for a good hour or so, that is just an extra added bonus. Enjoy.
What does the Bible say about death? (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
What does the Bible about life purpose? (Romans 12:2)
What does the Bible say about personal sacrifice? (John 3:16)