Self/less - Cinema Review

'Ryan Reynolds continues his successful streak of making entirely middling movies'

Ryan Reynolds continues his successful streak of making entirely middling movies with Self/less, which, like a plethora of recent Reynolds' vehicles, has an intriguing setup and next to no substance.

In this case, Reynolds stars as the reincarnation of Damian (Ben Kingsley), an ageing property mogul who agrees to undergo a body swap procedure carried out by dodgy doctor Albright (Matthew Goode). Having gratefully received this extra lease of life, the Reynolds version of Damian largely sets about partying and bedding various women he could not previously attain, before realising that there might be some problems with Albright's decidedly suspect procedure.

From this point forwards, Tarsem Singh's film turns into a moral quandary, as Damian encounters Madeline (Natalie Martinez) and her daughter Anna (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) and realises he holds the weight of their futures in his Science-Fiction sponsored body. There are plenty of elements of this that work, but unfortunately they're supported by a clunky Action plot that Singh never commits to. Damian, as seen previously, successfully carries his unresolved daughter issues over into his Reynolds body, but the new fighting, kicking, running, punching acts are exactly that and the film doesn't quite get to a point where it justifies and makes full use of their presence in the way that, say, The Guest did.

Meanwhile, the film also struggles to establish Goode as the kind of over-arching villain the actor seems born to play. There's non of the creep of his Stoker performance in the few scenes that he does get with Reynolds, and whenever they're not together he feels as anonymous as any mob-boss antagonist you care to mention.

Self/less feels a very odd fit for Singh, one that he never fully gets hold of. The script, by David and Àlex Pastor, the duo behind Carriers, has enough invention to give it the benefit of the doubt and you would think that Singh, otherwise broadly known for his visual stylings, would have brought something to the party. Instead, his aim seems to be to downplay everything, muting a narrative that had promise.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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