REVIEW: Cold Souls

20 07 2010

Paul Giamatti is usually a pretty funny guy; his facial movements alone can illicit a few good laughs.  But not even he has the power to fill the emptiness of “Cold Souls.” Giamatti hasn’t exactly shied away from some pathetic characters in the past, and he has infused them with plenty of neuroses.  Yet for some reason, the whole act just falls flat here.

I get that the movie is a criticism of the capitalist society that we live in, and it’s one of those “intelligent satires” that aren’t exactly meant to entertain us so much as make us think.  It wouldn’t bother me so much had I not seen an excellent movie called “Being John Malkovich” that does everything that this movie so desperately wanted to do, and it does it flawlessly.

Apparently, writer/director Sophie Barthes wants us to think that soul extraction is the new therapist’s couch.  Giamatti, that is, a fictionalized version, undergoes this operation to make his work on a play easier.  He becomes disappointed at how small his soul looks in its glass container and throws a nice little fit.

And from there on out, it’s pure agony to watch Giamatti soullessly sulk around the screen, barely saying a word.  The plot collapses as there is some sort of “soul trafficking” issue going on in Russia that we are supposed to care about, but by that point, it’s so easy to just tune out everything that’s going on and be thankful you have a soul.

Strangely enough, I really enjoyed the movie whenever David Strathairn was on screen.  Too bad that was only for a few minutes.  C- /


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2 responses

20 07 2010
Kaiderman

Great idea… not the best execution!

21 07 2010
Simon/Ripley

I liked it. I mean, it was very melancholy, as you’d expect (not from the trailers, but y’know). But Giamatti and Russian Actress I Don’t Know The Name Of were pretty great.

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