Cold Souls - Win it
Review by Jack Foley
THE term “Kaufman-esque” can be bounded around a little too easily at times… but it does feel like an appropriate way to describe writer-director Sophie Barthes’ intriguing debut film.
Billed as an existential comedy, the film finds Paul Giamatti playing an actor named Paul Giamatti who decides to have his soul extracted in order to get to grips with playing Uncle Vanya… only to suddenly find his life taking a turn for the worse!
His attempts to reclaim his soul from the company storing it hit a snag, however, when they admit to having lost it to soul-traffickers and Paul is forced to embark on a global quest to recover it and save his sanity and marriage.
Barthes’ movie draws easy comparisons with the work of Charlie Kaufman by virtue of its mind-bending high concept comedy and its in-jokery. Kaufman’s own Being John Malkovich found Malkovich playing himself, while Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind also took place on a cerebrally challenging level.
Cold Souls offers both kinds of scenarios but, if anything, has even more fun with it.
It’s an inventive and completely surreal experience that also boasts a winning central performance from the ever-excellent Giamatti and fine support from the likes of David Strathairn and Emily Watson.
Barthes also does a brilliant job of balancing the moments of high drama, as the angst-ridden Giamatti attempts to get over his melancholy by putting his soul into storage, with comedy as his world continues to crumble around him.
But her film never feels glib or comes at the expense of emotional investment and/or engagement. Rather, we root for Giamatti and some of the people his quest subsequently brings him into contact with.
Barthes’ direction is nicely low-key and in keeping with the mood of proceedings, while she even ensures a satisfactory outcome that ensures everything is explained and patient viewing is rewarded.
In short, Cold Souls is highly recommended viewing!
Win Cold Souls on DVD
To celebrate the release of Cold Souls on DVD on March 15, 2010, IndieLondon has teamed up with indi VISION to offer readers the chance to win 1 of 2 copies of the film. Simply answer the following question…
Q. Who directs Paul Giamatti in Cold Souls?
Simply send the answer to Cold Souls competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email
Running time: 101mins
UK DVD Release: March 15, 2010