Friday, July 10, 2015

Self/less


This review originally appeared on SFist.com.

Imagine being able to live forever in the body of Ryan Reynolds. Welcome to the (sort of) plot of Self/less. Ben Kingsley plays a dying New York billionaire with a ridiculous accent and an insanely tacky, gold-plated apartment worthy of Donald Trump (and ha, it actual IS Donald Trump's apartment, as revealed in the credits). When he's told about a procedure called "shedding," he forks over the money to have his consciousness transferred into the lab-grown body of a virile young man. This involves MRI-type machines and no actual brain transplantation, so is, in other words, completely preposterous.

When he wakes up in his new body, he has all the memories of his former self (although he doesn't have the ridiculous New York accent, which, huh?), but must start a new life, as giving up his old life is part of the deal. And the transition isn't entirely smooth, since without daily drugs, he starts to have weird seizures that come with memories that seem to belong to someone else.

Ah ha! There's the rub. "Lab-grown" body indeed! The majority of the movie features Reynolds searching for the truth behind his new body while being chased by the shady org that facilitated it all. There are some interesting philosophical discussions to be had about the potential for immortality, how the brain facilitates consciousness, and the ultimate opportunities of the haves and the have-nots. But this movie isn't really concerned with any of that that. It's more interested in car chases and gun battles. Your enjoyment depends on your preference for the former or the latter in your entertainment.

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