Cert 12A | ★★★☆☆
Immortality is rarely given a positive spin in Hollywood – from mopey vampires to haunted Wolverines, it appears living forever ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. The latest to tread this path is Tarsem Singh’s Self/Less, in which a dying businessman (Ben Kingsley) pays for a secret, expensive procedure to transfer his consciousness into a new body (Ryan Reynolds). Once in his new body, however, he discovers the horrifying truth behind the methods that got him there.
An interesting concept leads into a by-the-numbers thriller, which bears a striking resemblance to the 60s John Frankenheimer classic Seconds, minus the nightmarish brilliance. Reynolds, a likeable actor who feels wasted here, dons an array of designer outfits to outwit the omniscient and charismatic evil scientist on his tail, played with villainous charisma by Matthew Goode. The star, not for the first time, is throttled by a straightforward script that doesn’t allow for much character development, and leaves the complex questions its premise begs largely unanswered.
The often slick direction can’t cover up the unmemorable nature of Self/Less, a thriller that’s been done many times before with many different stars, and often in much more interesting ways. Perhaps most disappointing is that something this average can come from Singh, once considered one of Hollywood’s most individual filmmakers.