By Liz Lopez
Some people accept death and make preparations for themselves and their loved ones in advance. Making those preparations also requires having money available or purchasing a plan with monthly payments that at times can be hard on the budget. The percentage of individuals in our world who have no financial issues may find themselves with more options than others when it comes to making end of life decisions. In the feature film, Self/Less, wealthy businessman Damian Hale (Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley), has cancer and as the end approaches, his curiosity is peaked when he learns of a procedure known as “shedding.” He is willing to explore the availability of this medical procedure offered through the organization head, Albright (Matthew Goode, The Good Wife). Damian seeks more time and maybe even right some wrongs with his adult daughter, Claire (Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey). Barcelona born filmmakers, David Pastor and Alex Pastor (Carriers, The Last Days) provide us with a feature film that mixes a bit from different genres that works for me. I really enjoyed the science fiction part of the film as the story unfolds about this procedure’s origins and what can happen when you skip the prescribed “red pills.” There are a couple of scenes (midway and latter) that border on the predictable side, but it is not so much that it decreased my overall enjoyment of the film.
I never find it painful to see Ryan Reynolds in any film and in Self/less, he is cast as the young man who has also participated in the medical procedure, but for reasons other than Damian’s. Buff, strong and virile, Damian is happy with his new life, except for some varied “hallucinations” that come and go, including a young woman, Madeline (Natalie Martinez) and a child, Anna (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen).
The film also has an extensive cast that includes Victor Garber, as Martin O’Neil, Damian’s best friend, Derek Luke and Michelle Dockery, among others. Everyone’s performances are good and the child actress is very impressive, enough so to be one actor’s career I want to follow in the future.
Director Tarsem Singh (The Cell, Immortals) and cinematographer Brendan Galvin do well with the script, taking viewers from some sci-fi to action scenes, mixing in a bit of romance along the way as Damien explores who he is after wanting to live forever.
The almost two hour film is rated PG-13. If anyone has any doubts about Sci-Fi, action and romance mixed in one script, then I recommend viewing it as a matinee or when certain theaters in town offer special deals during the week.
Self/less opens nationwide on Friday, July 10th