Damian Hale is a billionaire real estate developer in New York City. He is also dying of cancer and has only months to live. From a mysterious doctor named Albright he learns of a process called shedding where a consciousness can be transferred from one body to another. He undergoes the procedure believing the new body was produced in a lab. When he misses a dose of his special meds he starts having memories of another life. Hale follows up on the images and discovers a wife a daughter that had though him dead. Once Dr. Albright realizes what’s happening he sends in the cavalry to try and control the situation. Chaos reigns until Hale can reconcile his old life and his new one.
2015, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 57 mins
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Matthew Goode
Directed by Tarsem Singh
This is one of those though-provoking films that while a little under-stated provides good entertainment and inspires discussion about the moral implication of what’s happening in the story. The consciousness-transfer story has been done before Self/less takes a fresh approach in that you see a transformation of the original personality into something better. Damian Hale, played by Ben Kingsley with a terrible approximation of a New York accent, starts out as the typical self-absorbed rich man looking for immortality. Once he occupies the new body, his perspectives change. First is the obvious anger when he learns of the deception. But then he becomes emotionally involved with the wife and daughter he only knows through memory flashes. And this leads to an extremely well-conceived ending that makes the film well worth watching. There are some slow portions but they’re made up for with some terrific action sequences and a few nail-biting moments. All in all it’s a very enjoyable movie.
The video transfer is honest in its color portrayal but I found some material to look a little murky. Color is nicely saturated in most scenes but darker content shows a bit of crush and lack of depth. Detail is quite sharp throughout and contrast is quite deep in the brighter parts which dominate the film.
The audio encode is clear and detailed with a wide front soundstage and good use of the surrounds. A little more bass would be welcome but action scenes have decent dynamic and frequency range. The musical score is a little thin and I felt it could have contributed a little more.
Bonus features are fairly thin and include a making-of featurette, a brief explanation of shedding and audio commentary from director Tarsem Singh.