A sci-fi thriller so derivative of John Frankenheimer's masterfully paranoid Seconds it would be more accurate to call it Thirds, Tarsem Singh's Self/less is a generic waste of a clever idea.
Tarsem Singh has a reputation for making movies that are visually stunning but woefully inert and convoluted in their storytelling (see The Cell and The Fall). Singh's most recent film, Self/less, lives up to at least half of that reputation.
What starts out as an interesting exploration of identity soon gives way to the uninspired, generic action flick we had feared it always was.
Deep under the skin of this shrug of a movie is a solid metaphor rooted in an appealing fantasy.
There's no reason to spoil what follows except to say that even by the standards of both Alfred Hitchcock and science fiction, it's nonsensical.
Self/less is so restrained that I wonder if somebody stole Tarsem Singh's body, too.
Self/less begins with a promising (albeit well-worn) science fiction premise, degrades it by turning it into a generic thriller, and finishes it off with a rushed, disjointed ending.
The elaborately convoluted, soul-swapping thriller "Self/less" squanders its intriguing premise with a loud and labored beat-the-bad-guys trajectory.
All of it unfolds in the atmosphere of gaudy, portentous vacuity that is Mr. Singh's trademark.