Cold Souls is a dark comedy that doesn’t sacrifice a storyline for its laughs. Not entirely memorable but certainly watchable, this indie film should not be overlooked completely.
Paul Giamatti stars as himself in Cold Souls which the concept behind the film is souls can be extracted and also implanted similar to an organ transplant. Giamatti struggles with anxiety and seeks for a cure. After hearing about a company that does soul transplants, he signs up to remove his soul. He intends for it to be a temporarily thing, just to get him past his next acting performance. Complications arise when later his soul disappears from the storage facility. A soul-trafficking mule borrows Giamatti’s soul for an actress overseas. He sets out to retrieve what was once his.
Paul Giamatti is not afraid of making fun of himself a little. Since he is playing himself there are some subtle jabs that he (or the director) takes at himself. The different pronunciations of his last name and when he asks the person why they choose his soul to take, she simply replies that he was the only actor they could get. Thus sort of alluding that he isn’t a big time actor. There may be a little truth to that because I don’t think that everyone knows who he is, which is rather unfortunate.
Cold Souls is a very quiet film. Throughout the duration many scenes are of Giamatti living his life without saying much. As a viewer you get a good and detailed sense of what the characters life is like. The cinematography was beautifully done, it mostly expressed emptiness. For example, there is a shot of him at a very large table all alone and also by a large body of water with no one else in sight with him just pondering. This is done perhaps because he believes his soul is empty.
I felt like the concept of this film was very interesting. Being able to rid your soul and implant a new one is quite intriguing. However, I did feel like Cold Souls could have been better, it had a lot more potential than I think the final result turned out.
Labeled as a comedy and I would add dark to that, it didn’t have to try that hard to be funny. It was more of a drama that had an odd sense of humor. Sometimes it was hard to tell if something was meant to be funny or not, it has such a serious tone to it. There are a few punch lines but none of them felt forced at all and I enjoyed that.
I kept wondering how it was going to end and then it just did. It’s fitting because of the emptiness theme going on but also I felt that it just wasn’t memorable. Cold Souls not a film that I feel like everyone will appreciate but I would recommend it to some.