Self/Less looked like just the kind of cheap trashy action movie that I love, everything about it said to me that it probably wouldn’t be a very good film but that I’d most likely have a great time with it. It turns out that I did really enjoy the movie but it had a little more substance than I was expecting and wasn’t as trashy as I was expecting!
The film features both Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds, both of these actors have patchy back catalogues in terms of their previous films but for the most part worked here, Reynolds more than Kingsley though. Unfortunately Kingsley’s American accent was questionable which meant it was a distraction for most of his scenes. I found it harder to ease into the film because of this however, once Reynolds enters I was able to get on board with considerable ease. Despite his critics I have always thought that Reynolds was a good actor. For me he proves this again here in Self/Less as he shows his ability through emotion and more physical acting moments, I thought that he was a good casting choice for the movie. The plot of the movie was simple, but clever. It was quite refreshing to be able to keep up with the plot of a sci-fi movie for once as recently it seems if the plot isn’t impossible to follow its not worth a look in. Whilst being easy to follow the plot was also very predictable, however enjoyably so. There was one moment where I had no idea what was coming next and this was a pretty cool scene.
Matthew Goode who plays Albright, the face of the shedding company that offers Ben Kingsley’s character a second chance at life, was great. I enjoyed his input at every turn however there was still potential to push this character slightly further but nonetheless he contributed well to the movie. I enjoyed the action scenes, the sequences were well done but were never anything that memorable, for me the best and most exciting moments were the combat scenes. As well as the action there is a lot of drama featured in the movie. Some of this drama works really well whilst others doesn’t. I kind of wish that Self/Less had embraced more of its action and cranked up the pace, however I think it does gain a bit more credibility for addressing these more dramatic elements. Although at times because of this drama it can feel a little drawn out and the structure makes you think that the film is over sooner than it is. I know I have mentioned several problems with the movie but none of them were major enough to really detract from my enjoyment of the movie, they would more accurately be suggestions on how to improve the movie.
Self/Less ends up being a solid sci-fi/action flick, surprising me a lot. It’s nothing to write home about like Looper etc but it still manages to fairly effortlessly entertain. Things really get going when Reynolds makes his appearance and he carries the movie well. Be prepared for a mix of drama and action and just enjoy the revelations (albeit predictable as they are) that come throughout the film. Fun, clever and enjoyable – no need to catch it in the cinema but could be a good choice for a movie night in!
Rating – 7.5/10