Self/less

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Some tropes come back again and again; each attempt tries to add something new to the mix. Tarsem Singh’s (Mirror Mirror) addition to the discussion of body swapping immortality is wonderfully filmed and full of action, if not entirely solid as a story.

The challenges were two fold. The script from the award-winning Pastors (Carriers) is almost there; tightly plotted, but pretty standard with few surprises. Not helping it succeed is that the motivation for Ben Kingsley’s (Robot Overlords) character is thin at best, leaving the Ryan Reynolds (Woman in Gold) version with little to work with to drive his responses. In fact, the strongest scenes we have of Kingsley belie the rest of the movie in many ways. Neither of these men are weak actors, but neither had, or was provided with, the detail necessary to make the story seamless.

Mathew Goode (Imitation Game) and Victor Garber add some levels to the story, but only Garber has a real tale to tell. Goode is fairly cookie-cutter with some window dressing thrown in near the end.

For all its faults, there are some nicely thought through implications and issues in this story. The human fascination with the idea will surely continue, despite this and many other attempts to explore the story with varying success. Approach this as a bit of popcorn madness to fill an evening or afternoon and you won’t be disappointed. And this is also one of the few that doesn’t approach this with flat-out humor. But there are many to choose from so don’t feel this is your only opportunity to try out the sub-genre.

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