Self/less  (2015)    63/100

Rating :   63/100                                                                     117 Min        12A

An odd film from director Tarsem Singh (‘The Cell’ 2000, ‘The Fall’ 06, ‘Immortals’ 11, ‘Mirror Mirror’ 12) and writers David and Alex Pastor, concerning the invention of a method by which one person’s consciousness can be transferred from their body into that of another. The film opens with Damian Hayes (Ben Kingsley) thinking about undergoing the expensive and highly secret procedure; the cancer that his body is riddled with having metastasised and left him with mere months to live. Deciding he’d rather not die, his soul and mind are plonked into a much younger, fitter body (that of Ryan Reynolds), a body he has been told was built in a lab with no prior mind of its own. Afterward, Damian finds if he doesn’t take his regular medication, given to him by the set-up’s organiser Prof. Albright (Matthew Goode), strange and compelling visions begin to dance before him, although he is told it’s nothing to worry about …

The potential for discussion on life, death and the morals of humanity falls completely flat here, so in a sense the central story doesn’t deliver where it should, and indeed there is an awful lot of slow padding before what we know must eventually happen does – but at this point Singh begins to put together some really well-staged action sequences and the film picks up considerably. Ultimately, Reynolds and Goode manage to anchor what evolves into a fairly enjoyable action film, although further mishaps do arise surrounding the writing of the main female character and alas also her portrayal by Natalie Martinez. A film whose secondary aspects deliver enough to save it from complete annihilation, but don’t expect anything approaching the complete package here.

A brief interview with Singh on what he has learned about the art of directing over the years:

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