Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Cold Souls is a unique take on the human soul. We find Giamatti struggling with his acting, well, overall he is just struggling. He has dark, morbid thoughts and can't focus on his career. When a friend recommends him check out an article in the New Yorker. The article talks about soul removal and storage. Yes, soul removal and storage. Giamatti meets with Dr. Flintstein (David Strathairn) and is convinced that the procedure might actually work. He has his soul removed, only to find that his complete physical and mental disposition is altered. The the problems keep on rolling. After trying out a rental soul, he demands to get his soul back, only to find that it has been taken to Russia through "soul trafficking". Now he must go on a search through the black market of soul buying and selling to try and find himself. This film is one part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, one part Being John Malkovich, and one part originality. It's a somewhat dry film with nothing that really grabs you in a special way, but it's not a boring film. Giamatti's character, actually most of his characters, are somewhat detached from the rest of the world, but never more so than here. He is the perfect choice to play the soulless man. He constantly looks depressed or discouraged, much like his character in Sideways, and his outbursts, although not as funny or powerful as Sideways, are believable effective. What impressed me a lot about this film was the production value for a first time feature. It spared no expense in making this soul storage technology seem as legitimate as possible without going too far over the edge. Much like Eternal Sunshine, we have a foreign and completely absurd science that is made to look legitimate and believable. Sure enough it worked. As I said earlier, the film is a bit dry. There are parts that were funny and scenes that could have been more emotional, but either the scene wasn't long enough or the images weren't strong enough. The camera work too was kind of annoying. It bumped around a lot when I would have preferred a still shot to see everything clearly. It's not a bad film by any means. It's an interesting story with some nice solid performances by Giamatti, Strathairn, as well as Dina Korzun (the soul trafficker) and Emily Watson as Giamatti's wife. A nice little film that makes you happy to have some personality.
Comedy / Drama
Comedy / Drama
Paul is an actor who feels bogged down by his participation in a production of Chekov's play, Vanya.
July 17, 2020