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Self/Less Gives You Lots to “Hmm…” About

Posted by cirvine on November 9, 2015

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What if, at the end of your life, you didn’t have to die, but instead could replace your worn out body with that of a younger model and keep on living? We do it with cars, computers and cell phones, so why not with our own flesh and bones? This is the idea that Self/Less explores, and although it might seem like science fiction, it’s not something that’s actually that far out there.

Ben Kingsley plays the real-estate magnate Damian Hale, whose millions of dollars and literally gold-encrusted palace cannot stop cancer from slowly killing him. But there is a miraculous new process he learns of called “shedding”, where one can replace their ailing body with that of a younger, healthier one, for the small fee of $250 million. The Phoenix Biogenic corporation claims that they construct these new bodies from scratch (because, science!), but as we will soon find out, that might actually not be the case.

Through some kind of high-tech MRI machine, Hale’s mind is transferred into the chiseled physique of Ryan Reynolds, after which he is instructed to take little red pills that will stave off the hallucinations that often come with these complicated mind-switching procedures. Upon missing a pill and experiencing stronger imagery, he realizes that these aren’t hallucinations he’s seeing, but rather memories from another life.

A quick google search later and he’s off to the place he’s been seeing in his mind. He finds there a young woman, a sick little girl, and a dozen picture frames of the three of them on their walls and pictures of him in soldier gear. In a moment he realizes that there is way more to this body’s backstory than the Phoenix corporation has let on. He also learns that his new body comes with all sorts of handy upgrades—like Special Forces fighting abilities! Let the action begin!

I have two qualms about the movie Self/Less and they are that 1) it doesn’t adequately explore the psychological consequences of putting an old mind into an new body (“oh hey, I’m young—neato!”), and 2) it’s not believable that Ryan Reynolds is the same old grumpy millionaire that Ben Kingsley played in the beginning. They really do seem like two different people. But other than that I found the story to be an interesting concept. In general it gives you a lot to think about—like what you could do with another chance at being young knowing what you know from years of experience, or how we so easily take our young agility and health for granted. If you want to give yourself a little “hmm” moment, but also enjoy some action and suspense, this movie is for you.

You can catch Self/Less on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch.100) from Nov 10th to March 20th.