Monday, 12 April 2010

Cold Souls

Last week I took a little internet hiatus. I just didn't feel like spending the usual quality time with my Vaio due to several embarrassing and girly reasons which I won't elaborate on. I did however watch a lot of movies, too many movies really and the complete 5th season of House MD.

One of these movies was Cold Souls, a Kaufman-esque dramedy starring Paul Giamatti which delves into the seedy world of soul trafficking. While rehearsing Chekhov’s play Uncle Vanya, Paul can't seem to disconnect from his character anymore resulting in a typically Russian type of depression. After reading an article in the New Yorker about soul extraction, he decides to give it a go in a measly attempt to lighten the load. David Strathairn removes Paul's tiny soul in a classic scene with the immortal line: Are you telling me my soul is a chick pea? This wonderfully absurd tale then takes a sinister twist as his soul goes missing...

I really looked forward to seeing this movie but I kinda have mixed feeling about it now. Although it’s original, clever and incredibly witty at times, Sophie Barthes full length directorial debut is also very similar to Charlie Kaufman's twisted themes and Spike Jonze’s style. I personally love Kaufman’s insanity and the combination of artsy absurdity and Paul Giamatti were what made me want to watch Cold Souls but sadly, Barthes can’t quite pull it off. Cold Souls could be best described as an existential comedy meets Russian spy movie that starts off funny but ends up entering dark and uncharted territory. If only Barthes was able to make the madness last… The performances however were phenomenal, especially by the always adorable Giamatti who gets to play several twisted versions of his versatile self.

Cold Souls is a great attempt at an intellectually stimulating and visually satisfying cinematic oddity but in the end it just leaves you unfulfilled and craving the real deal.

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