SELF/LESS review

Like most movies with a terrible marketing team, the only reason why I even knew this movie existed was because of work and its posters. I won’t say I wasn’t entirely curious, as it did have Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley, so how bad could it be?

(SUMMARY)

Damian (Ben Kingsley)┬áis an elderly man who’s built up a fortune over the course of his life in business. Sadly, with his advanced age, he’s grown sick and possibly on death’s door. His mortality has him wondering what his legacy will be when he leaves, including trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Claire (Michelle Dockery). When things don’t pan out positively, he decides to under-go a medical procedure that will transfer his mind to a younger body, called “shedding.” He meets with Albright (Matthew Goode), the chief doctor that oversees the sheddings, and tells Damian that he must fake his death and leave his old life behind. He agrees and the procedure works. He awakens in his lab-grown younger body (Ryan Reynolds), gets used to it through physical therapy, and is eventually sent off into the world with his new identity. However, things become complicated when Damian begins to see memories that he doesn’t remember. Soon, he discovers that his reality has been a lie and gets caught up in a conspiracy that threatens more than just his own life.

(REVIEW)

It’s awful. Dear lord, is this movie many different kinds of not good. I honestly don’t even know where to start.

This movie is one cliche after another, and a long series of awkward writing. For example:

Ben Kingsley: “(to Garber) Hey, Martin, have you ever heard of shedding?”

Victor Garbor: “What are you talking about?”

Ben Kingsley: “Nothing, forget I mentioned it.”

Er… well, that’s an obvious and weird beat to let the audience know what’s happening in the future. To boot, way to show how suspicious you’re acting. People don’t talk like that. And even if they do, this is a movie. Let’s take this opportunity to streamline dialog, please. And that’s not the only one. And about Reynolds being a lab-grown body, honestly, I felt like that was a lie from the get-go. The way this movie is shot, the score, it’s almost trying too hard to be suspenseful, I could see from miles away that Reynolds wasn’t a lab-grown body. I knew the twist was going to be that he was a kidnapped dude. As soon as the reveal came up, I wasn’t surprised in the slightest.

And dear god, there’s only a handful of decent actors in this. Look, I like Reynolds, and Kingsley is a living legend. But dear god, Kingsley, what happened to you, dude??? LOVE GURU, BLOODRAYNE, PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (2010), you used to be Ghandi!! You were in SCHINDLERS LIST, what is going on??? Reynolds I get, even his worst movies aren’t the worst ideas, they just have terrible executions, but dude, your star is already up there. How in hell are you a shitty enough actor to put on a performance that would make second graders face-palm. And Reynolds has never really given a bad performance, but I want to say that this is it. It’s not even bad per se, but it’s bland. He’s boring as all hell. He’s not his trademark charming, he’s not intimidating, he’s kind of a bitch in this. RYAN REYNOLDS IS NOT A BITCH!!! HE’S FUCKING DEADPOOL, FOR FUCK SAKE!!! “Oh, but wait, Daniel he was punching people in the face, that’s bad ass right?” FUCK THAT NOISE!!! That was a plot device to make his character less of a pussy, which seriously didn’t do that much to help. And no offense to Martinez, but I really hope she gets better work than this. I mean, she’s fine with what she’s given, but Maddy is such an annoying character. She spends 90% of her screen time screaming and shouting the phrase, “WHAT’S GOING ON” or “PLEASE TALK TO ME” and many of said phrases variants. Of everyone that’s on screen, the only two characters I didn’t hate was Garber and little miss Kinchen. Garber is basically the only character given any real depth, but even that’s just tacked on for weight and shock value with no build-up, but his performance seems less fake than Kingsley. And Kinchen could easily be the next Abigail Breslin. Add a couple more years, a solid acting coach, and a great script, she could be a terrific actress someday. Her character Anna is so innocent and unaware of what’s happening, but is incredibly well-adjusted to her life-threatening environment. There could be an argument that no kid really acts like this, but I think for the character that was written on screen, Kinchan makes it work very well. Wherever she’s learning acting, I hope she keeps it up. And it says a lot that this little girl who made her film debut is the best part of the movie, instead of the two A-listers that headline the fucking poster.

Acting aside, the movie makes absolutely no sense. Alright, so we have this incredible scientist who creates ground-breaking science that transfers an older persons mind, every second of their memories, into a younger body and give them extra time to carry out their potential. The film’s theme of “youth is wasted on the young” may not be an original idea, but no problems so far. The movie tells you that you can go on Google and just look this up, even watch a clip about that scientist talking about the research on Wikipedia. And Albright, who has taken over the process… keeps this a secret. Um, okay, why? If someone can just look this shit up, why are you trying to hide it? And why isn’t this bigger news? I think if a scientist basically said that humans won’t die if they transfer into a younger body from their older body, that’s fucking awesome. It’s not immortality, if you think you have more to offer to the world, but rather a second chance. How does someone like Garber’s character Martin not know this shit exists? How do you keep something like that hidden (granted, I came in to this movie about 5 minutes late, so MAYBE that could have been explained, but I doubt it)? Also, you’re a 70 year old man, 70 years on this pretty blue planet, and you’re not seeing how shady this shit is? I get it, you want a new life, a chance to start over, and to some good with your new-found time. But how do you trust something like, “oh we grew a body for you to inhabit.” Uh… I could tell from miles away that this body was going to have history. You don’t keep illegal research like this hidden away from the public and have random bodies lying around without a few neon red flags raised higher than a firecracker on Independence Day, and expect me to believe that this person wasn’t a person before. Fuck you, movie, I’m not THAT much of an idiot.

What’s amazing about this movie is that it tackles a theme that isn’t tackled so much: youth is wasted on the young. You can predict the shit out of all the twists, and even if you don’t see one coming, you’re not in the slightest bit surprised. In fact, you only get more frustrated. I’ve seen some bad movies this year, but I think this might be the worst so far. That’s saying something because I’ve seen MORTDECAI and INSURGENT. Story is lame, acting sucks, writing cringe-worthy, an all-around mess.

My first ever, 1/5

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