Self/less full movie review - Self /Less or Time / Less
Possible Spoiler warning: Do not read this review if you haven't seen the movie yet.
There seems to be a handful of people who just can't handle any idea if it even slightly resembles something that has been done before. In this case, I guess you can compare Self/ Less with the Philip K Dick masterpiece 'Total Recall'.
For this reviewer, what made this idea on the concept of immortality unique was the fact that it was produced to give a concept which could be possible now.
There's a lot of people who love the done to death 'Vampire' concept for example, well Self / Less is a movie about achieving immortality to, however in the case of Self / Less the concept is even more sinister. With the Vampire concept, victims of the vampire feeding can end up immortal but they still have the same personality and memories.
In Self / Less the concept is thrown out the window. It's an excursion into the dark world of organ harvesting on the black market if you will, with the ultimate issue being that instead of just organs, where talking about whole bodies. Black market organ harvesting happens today in our time, so the concept for Self / Less was worthwhile.
There are also some reviewers who have been declaring 'plot holes' but I would argue they are mistaken. For example if you woke up with a new body, but the memories from the person who previously inhabited said body where still in there and you had to take drugs to suppress them, that would without doubt change you. The feeling and caring is justified in the Ben Kingsley's character as he feels guilt for the time he didn't spend with his daughter and instead used his time to build a multi-billion dollar empire. Like many people he believed money was the answer to everything. Towards his last days in his old body, it's clear from Ben Kingsley's acting that he realises money isn't everything. He tries to make a peace with his daughter who hates him and wants nothing to do with his money as she doesn't want to become an unfeeling business only kind of person like him. Seeing the younger daughter in his new body and spending time with her makes him realise how much he's missed.
All his life, he's used the simply analogy that it's 'only business and good business' to justify his greed, wealth and power. In reality it's become nothing more than a barrier between his self and his family.
The movie was a terrific venture into exploring the psychological impacts of realisation and walking in the shoes of someone else for a time. He may seem uncaring but even he sees the wrong in taking away a families father figure.
The movie certainly places the 'science' into science fiction. The scientist who creates the technique to allow the transfer of a persons memories into another mind, is in a lot of ways like the character played by Ben Kingsley, he's justifying what he does by showering others with money to make up for the loss of there loved ones. He believes that great minds should live on, while others are irrelevant. An obvious error, but one which makes his character strangely caring while at the same time a narcissistic psychopath.
Overall, the Scientist (played by Mathew Goode) was my favorite character in the movie. His acting was terrific and he carried the mannerism of the Scientist (played by Thomas Francis Murphy) really well.
Ben Kingsley was as terrific as always and it would have been nice to see a bit more of him playing the original character.
This movie had a lot of action scenes and I think that's the only negative I have, with the whole movie. I enjoyed most of the scenes but I felt that the movie would have been even better, had they simply taken on more drama and character interactions instead. For a story of this complexity, this would have made a lot more sense and the movie would have been enriched because of it.
It's certainly a worthwhile movie and while I actually believe it scores a fair 8/10, I'm giving it a 10 because I believe it's received some rather harsh and unjustified reviews from people who automatically declared this movie a copy without considering that it's actually a scary possible idea right now. It's nothing like Face / Off because that was a complete face swap, not a memory swap. It's not the same as Total Recall, because this is a complete mind transfer, not a memory implant. It also had the great concept of adding adverse side effects which as the scientist declares is a reality similar to organ transplants.
It showed a lot of great moments and it's certainly worth watching at least once. The action scenes seemed to be geared purely to look amazing on a large screen but there were too many of them for a story like this.
For those like myself who enjoyed the movie, I would recommend the movie 'Puzzlehead'. Which I think you might enjoy.
To conclude, a great story, let down slightly by a lot of unnecessary action scenes. The movie already had a great story that could have been explored properly instead of having to add the silly fast paced action scenes just to appeal to some audiences who can't still unless there's action and explosion to keep there eyes glued to the screen. Science Fiction films should always be thought provoking. There are many Sci-Fi's that do not have an explosion or action scene every 5 minutes and are all the better because of it.