Friday, July 17, 2015

Self/Less (Rhoades)

Front Row at the movies

“Self/less” Offers New Sci-Fi Definition
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

“Selfless’ is defined as “altruistic, self-sacrificing, self-denying; considerate, compassionate, kind, noble.” But Ben Kingsley is none of those things in “Self/less,” a new sci-fi movie that redefines the term. In fact, he’s a bit selfish.

You see, billionaire industrialist Damian Hale (Kingsley, that is) can lead afford to a self-indulgent life. That is, until he is diagnosed with cancer.

But even that doesn’t stop a man with his wherewithal: He can pay for a radical new medical procedure called “shedding,” where his consciousness is transferred into another body (one that looks exactly like Ryan Reynolds).

Sort of like a snake shedding its skin.

So this new definition is about retaining less of yourself.

However, at its core this is a cautionary tale, and we discover Damian Hale’s new lease on life comes with a few strings still attached. Edward (the new body) still has some residual memories bubbling around in its used brain.

Since the story is set in New Orleans, you can count on some doozy memory fragments. When Damian/Edward encounters these disturbing images, he starts looking into his body’s past. But secrets are meant to be kept; errant memories can prove dangerous.

What starts off like a cerebral science fiction exercise morphs into a mindless futuristic thriller.

Indian-born director Tarsem Singh is known for his sci-fi and fantasy films, five altogether. The only one that veered from the genre was “Mirror Mirror,” a riff on the “Snow White” fairy tale.

His first film was “The Cell” with Jennifer Lopez, a psychological fantasy that dealt with the inner mind of coma patients. Next came “The Fall,” a Scheherazade-like approach with a hospitalized stuntman spinning epic fantasies for another patient. “The Immortals” was a mythological tale about the Titans. Then “Mirror Mirror,” followed by this one.

Tarsem seems to be picking at his film’s themes like a man trying to piece together fragments of false memories. And “Self/less” shows how unlikely that is to work out.

No comments: