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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

'Cold Souls' or Frosty Delight

Cold Souls = 4 out of 5 Stars

(Another throwback review I stumbled across - an overlooked movie from 2009 that is now on Netflix Watch Instant)
Dr. Flinstein: Believe me, when you get rid of the soul, everything makes so much more sense.
A very weird and deep comedy starring Paul Giamatti as himself. This film feels very much like a story from the mind of Charlie Kaufman, but its not. This is an original story with some obvious influences. Its funny, clever, and has a few elements of greatness that elevate it a bit more.

Paul Giamatti is trying to get ready for a play, but is having trouble separating himself from his characters as an actor. To solve this problem, Paul decides to involve himself in a high tech company that he read about in the New Yorker. This company practices the extraction of the soul from the body. Headed by Dr. Flinstein, played hilariously droll by David Strathairn, the company literally removes the soul from the body and places it in cold storage.


Paul goes through with the procedure and becomes somewhat different from his more neurotic persona he was previously dealing with at first. But soon, Paul must deal with how different he is from before and decides to have a different soul placed inside him, to help him with his acting and keep him more balanced.

Eventually, however, Paul is overcome with feelings about having a different soul in his body and wants to have his own soul back. It is at this point the film converges Paul's story with another subplot involving soul trafficking to Russia, as Paul discovers that his soul is missing.
Dr. Flinstein: This has never happened before. We probably shipped it to our New Jersey where house.
Paul: Oh, god...

The story involving Paul is very good. Its clever, its funny, and it made me very curious as to where it would take me. The other story involving a soul trafficker is less engrossing at first, but once the film converged both story lines, I became much more interested.

The comedy in this movie is somewhat subdued, but when the film starts to deal with what these people are seeing with these different souls, the movie did become even more interesting. There is a scene late in the film involving Paul's reaction to a certain event that was just beautiful.

Speaking of Paul, Giamatti is great here. He's playing an exaggerated version of himself as this neurotic guy, probably heading into a midlife crisis who stumbles across this company. Everything about his adventures involving this soul removal process is well handled.

This is an obscure little title that few will come across, but its well done and enjoyable.
Oleg: We thought we were getting Al Pacino's soul.
Paul: Well, I'm very sorry things didn't work out with...Al Pacino. 

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