Tuesday, November 24, 2009
With art imitating life imitating, well, Paul Giamatti, Cold Souls is quite the curio. Writer/director Sophie Barthes takes soul searching to a whole new level in her philosophical treatise on the commodification of the soul.
It’s probably best not to say too much about this film. However, anyone who might have been horribly traumatised by a philosophy course has no cause to fear Cold Souls. Barthes infuses the screenplay with a caustic wit, while her impressionistic visual style is lovely to behold. This is a truly impressive debut and one that will no doubt go over well with fans of Charlie Kaufman, particularly his recent Synecdoche, New York.
Rallied by a spirited performance from Giamatti (playing himself, sort of), David Strathairn, Dina Korzun and the rest of the cast — including Kaufman cross-over Emily Watson — bring all the ironic nuances and world-weary melancholia of their characters to life. And these wonderfully written roles are played out within a wry storyline that reignites the Cold War on an existential level.
So regardless of whether you ultimately enjoy Cold Souls, or are able to wrap your head around it, one thing’s for sure: you’ll never look at a chickpea the same way again.