Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Ryan Reynolds – Edward “Mark” Hale
Ben Kingsley – Damian Hayes
Matthew Goode – Professor Albright
Natalie Martinez – Madeline “Maddie” Hale
Michelle Dockery – Claire Hayes
Victor Garber – Martin O’Neill
Self / Less didn’t blow me away, but it was very watchable. A movie I could kick back and enjoy without having to focus too much on it. Reynolds does a splendid job of carrying the entire thing too; the actor had a lot on his shoulders to deal with but pulled it off and made the movie his own. And as for the actual story itself..
Brilliant. If there is one thing the producers can’t be accused of it’s not being imaginative. This movie’s concept is great. The whole idea of ‘switching’ bodies – transferring your consciousness into a different person – won me over instantly. And during the scene where Damian enters ‘the machine’ to begin the process, I couldn’t stop watching. It wasn’t mind-blowing special effects or acting here, but the story which kept my eyes firmly fixed on the screen. I almost laughed out loud at how silly it was, yet possibly feasible years in the future it may be.
Although watchable, this movie had my brain working a bit harder than other movies. Damian entering Mark’s body mean’t confusion all round for those involved in his life, but also the understanding of his situation. As I sat there looking at Damian, I had to keep thinking it was Mark – but not actually Mark until Mark returns.. slightly baffling during scenes between Damian (Mark) and Mark’s wife Maddie. Mainly because he has to live in the man’s body without being familiar with his life – so there’s adjusting to be done whilst being on the run from the bad guys.
Freaky Friday, It’s a Boy-Girl Thing, Just My Luck.. I love movies that involve the unwanted swapping of people’s consciousness from one body to another. Not only is it a fascinating concept, it’s quite funny too – the initial reaction of both parties and their struggle to return to normal whilst dealing with the life of someone else.
Doctor Who villain Cassandra sprung to mind when watching Self / Less. The woman who refuses to die and therefore lives as a piece of skin stretched out on a life-support frame, with her brain sitting in a jar underneath. She soon begins transferring herself into real people and crushing their conscious as hers takes over.
Weird but brilliant, imaginative.
Self / Less gets top marks from me here for its story.
In a word.
Let’s face it, the man is quite fantastic isn’t he. He appears in movies as a cameo (Ted), as the second half of a double act (R.I.P.D), or as the main lead, thus having to carry the entire feature. And the latter – as mentioned above – was his role in Self / Less. He does it well too, the actor slides into character instantly and delivers an effective show which complements the movie because it seems to get goig immediately, without delay. You’re straight into the action. He’s no Leonardo DiCaprio (screaming, tears everywhere), in fact, he’s quite soft is Ryan. But there’s something about him that stands out. A glint in his eyes..
A glint which came in useful during a certain scene if Self / Less.
After the procedure has taken place and Damian sits in the recovery room, Professor Albright enters and gives him a reassurance talk. Damian (Mark) sits looking up at him in response with the most adorable look on his face. Ryan’s little brown eyes did that classic ‘sad face’ droop they seem to do frequently which gives him a look of vulnerability. He plays out this scene superbly, appearing all lost and confused. It certainly fuels the atmosphere of the film.
The actor has exceeded the classic ‘lost puppy’ or ‘rabbit in the headlights’ looks – he’s gone a step further. I don’t know how you can describe Ryan Reynolds’ authentic slitty-eyed facial expressions. But they’re too cute. I literally want to take him home and hug him constantly.
Although I am a man.
In which case, I’ll have to perform a ‘Self / Less’ on myself and gain a vagina.
This may help.
There really needed to be more ‘old man’ dialogue coming from Mark (Damian) throughout the movie. It lacked a lot of this and with it, Self / Less could have been very funny in parts, creating a feature which was instensely witty. I’m not saying make it hilarious, but a few more laughs may have added to its dynamics. For example, the way in which Damian approaches people or throws a comment; the difference between a thirty-something and a seventy-something personality would be huge. Bodily gestures, the language used to describe things, etc. But Damian seemed to run and jump around the screen wielding a gun like any other young chap, lacking characteristics he could have had. Yes Ryan does a good job in this movie, but I think this was his main and only let-down. Towards the end of the movie, he tells one of the characters to leave the country where they will be safer – “turquoise waters await you” he says to the person. This was literally the only time Mark being Damian was clarified. Otherwise, he runs around like normal.
Call me picky, but these sorts of elements are crucial for a movie like this. Freaky Friday is a perfect example of what I mean; the mother acting immature and scatty throughout the entire movie whilst the actress playing the daughter has to remain uptight and impatient whilst delivering wise, boringly sensible dialogue to the older actress.
Self / Less needed this. But lost it. Shame.
Self / Less is one of those C-List movies that isn’t an incredble breakthrough for Hollywood, nor is it completely awful and falls into the ‘shouldn’t have been made’ category. It’s a good choice if you and a friend fancy something to watch on a Saturday evening when you have no plans. With an interesting plot and some gripping moments, this movie is a very watchable gem which I have no doubt will be taking pride of place on my DVD shelf in the future as one of my ‘Randoms’ (if I find it for under £5.00. It’s not worth paying over this much for, to rent or to buy).
Ryan Reynolds carries the weight of the entire movie with simplicity and delivers the action you’d expect from something like this. I had one or two niggles about it but overall, Self / Less isn’t a bad watch.
Plausible. Refreshing. Entertaining.