If you were to tell me – two of my favorite actors in the movies – Paul Giamatti and David Strathairn – were going to be in a film that involved the souls of humans sold on the black market, I might’ve camped out at the theatres the way those geeks did when the new Star Wars films came out.
Imagine my surprise when I saw this and was so utterly disappointed. Sure, it has soul. It just maybe lacks some heart, blood in the veins, and…okay, enough with those lame lines.
The two actors I mentioned, are great. It’s the script that just isn’t up to snuff. It’s not nearly as clever as it thinks it is.
I’m guessing this would’ve worked as a shorter skit than a long movie (a movie I felt was an hour longer than it was). It might’ve also been better if it was done by Charlie Kaufman or Woody Allen. Instead, it’s by first-time writer/director Sophie Barthes.
Maybe I would’ve thought it was a bit more clever had Being John Malkovich never been released (Giamatti also plays an actor, with the name Paul Giamatti, for some reason).
The one series of scenes I found brilliant – is when a director tries to explain to Giamatti why he’s not getting the part down in Uncle Venya. The subtle humor of him being told he’s too serious in one scene, and the next being too humorous. And when gets the soul of a Russian poet on the black market, and nails it perfectly – it’s wonderful cinema.
Unfortunately, the movie just doesn’t work.
The blonde mule that acts much the way a drug runner would, has some interesting scenes.
The always reliable Emily Watson is fun to watch.
The Russian bimbo that wants to be a serious actress, and thinks she’s getting Al Pacino’s soul, is kind of fun for awhile. Even more so when she refuses to give back the soul.
I’m also glad the movie wasn’t as abstract as I thought it might be.
When the souls are shown in jars, and Giamatti is upset with how small and dark his is – it reminded me of the much better Albert Brooks movie Defending Your Life (where the amount of days you go on trail dictate how bad you were on Earth).
This chickpea size soul, left me hungry for more. I’m sure the critics will have no trouble eating this up, though.
In the end, I just couldn’t warm up to Cold Souls (insert rim shot here).
I’m giving it a D+.