The idea of human consciousness going mobile is an intriguing one: What if you could actually trade minds with another person?
That’s the premise of “Self/less,” a disappointing mind-transfer tale notable for its performances if not its dramaturgy. Writers David and Alex Pastor and director Tarsem Singh take a brain-tickler of an idea and then squander it on an action film.
The story begins with Damian (Ben Kingsley), a mega-rich businessman about whom everything seems to be hateful (including his terrible accent,which brings together the musicality of Brooklyn and New Jersey into one ear-grating growl). But it’s his story so what are you going to do?
He happens to be dying — quickly — and sees only one way out: “shedding,” an experimental procedure offered only to the rich and powerful by a mysterious scientist named Albright (Matthew Good). For a huge chunk of his fortune, Damian will be able to transfer his consciousness from his dying frame into a fresh body which, he is told, has been grown specially in a laboratory just for him.
He goes for it, heading to New Orleans (because that’s where the movie-making tax credits used to be) for the procedure. When he wakes up, he looks like Ryan Reynolds (who manages the neat trick of capturing Kingsley’s chilly reserve without indulging in his showy faux accent).
This review continues on my website.