Cold Souls is an interesting film that does not really go anywhere. It starts and ends at the same pace: a slow one. It is imaginative and creative, but there seems to be no substance in the film. The story focuses on the soul and has a great cast, but is not enough to keep this film from dragging.
Paul Giamatti plays Paul Giamatti and he’s an actor. He is having a tough time with his latest performance in Uncle Vanya. He reads an article in The New Yorker about a company that extracts souls and stores them. Giamatti thinks this is his way to happiness and succeed in his performance as an actor, but think again. Giamatti becomes a victim of “soul-trafficking” and his soul ends up inside a Russian soap-opera actress. Realizing he has made a mistake, he goes to Russia to get his soul back where it rightfully belongs.
This film deals with humor and fantasy, and is on the dramatic side as well. I should not even use the word humor because this film is not funny. Well maybe a little, but I would not call it a comedy by no means. It falls in to several different genres, but the film just doesn’t go anywhere. It feels like it is hitting a wall and the film can’t break through. At first, Cold Souls is interesting, but the longer the film goes the more it loses that and it starts to become boring and slow.
I must say that the story is a little weak, but the performances are not. The supporting cast is fantastic and Paul Giamatti is surrounded by talented people. But Giamatti is the headliner in this film. Even when a film cannot stand it’s own ground, Giamatti’s performance can. He is a gifted actor and has become one of my favorites to watch. His performances in American Splendor, Cinderella Man, Sideways, and Lady in the Water are great. Again, even if you did not like the movie, you had to like him.
He portrays a man who is suffering and turns to one last option. He is desperate. Just like his character with the same name, Giamatti loves his craft and wants to perfect it. But he rather do that without a soul in this film. His acting is the strong point in Cold Souls. I think it’s a shame he has only been nominated for an Oscar once.
Despite strong performances, this film started fresh but became stale. There was a lot to work with, but it just was not able to come together in the end. Cold Souls has a great concept and story, but there is nothing gripping about it on-screen. Unfortunately, when this film is over you do not really care what happened. The only lesson learned is the one you already knew: Keep your soul to yourself.
Available March 2 on DVD.