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Cold Souls

3.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In this surreal comedy, Paul Giamatti plays an actor named...Paul Giamatti. Paul very well might have found the key to happiness for which hes been searching, soul storage. But complications arise when he is the unfortunate victim of "soul trafficking." Balancing a tightrope between deadpan humor and pathos, and reality and fantasy, Cold Souls is a true soul searching comedy.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Giamatti, Emily Watson, Dina Korzun, Armand Schultz, Michael Tucker
  • Directors: Sophie Barthes
  • Writers: Sophie Barthes
  • Producers: Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Andrij Parekh, D.J. Martin, Daniel Carey, Elizabeth Giamatti
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003152YWI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,150 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cold Souls" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Callahan on February 4, 2010
Format: DVD
(Just watched this on Netflix, where it came out on 2/2/10. Why is it not yet available on Amazon? I think it says something when you give a DVD a Netflix-level commitment, then you immediately want to add it to your collection because it warrants repeated viewing.)

An actor named Paul Giamatti struggles with his performance as Uncle Vanya in a production of Checkov's play. As a possible cure to his internal struggles, his character ends up at a company specializing in the extraction and storage of a person's soul.

I won't say any more about the plot; there is a certain joy of discovery in "Cold Souls." Elements borrow from "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Being John Malkovich;" the film had a very Charlie Kaufman feel to it, but slightly more serious in tone and subtle in its humor. Also, as a fan of Mr. Giamatti's work, it was interesting to see allusions to his other films (the white room sequence recalled something similar in "Amercian Splendor").

In terms of the DVD, there are few extra features. Deleted scenes, a 5-minute short on the fabrication of the Soul Extractor, and trailers for other films. The absence of a commentary is a disappointment. I'm hoping that a Blu-Ray version includes more, and possibly I was watching an inferior "Netflix-only" version of the DVD.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a metaphysical comedy. To me it is a perfect film. Mr. Paul Giamatti may be the greatest living actor we have now. I cannot give away much so quite hard to describe. Let's just say when you are a mule (drug runner) but here it is 'Soul runner' you get remnants left on you and damn if this isn't such an intense experience. They also leave New York City (you see all Russian part of NYC rarely shown in films) and he explores Russia. Lovely to see this side of Russia. He runs into a vapid television show beauty queen who may have something of HIS and then her gangster husband comes into play. Please see it. A + 10 10 10. The last one minute or so always makes me tear up when we learn about HER fate. Most of it is a uniquely written comedy for people that understand depression or existential issues. They deserve comedies too! I own this film and I think it is the only film I bought in over a decade if that says something. I want to share with friends and do.
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Format: DVD
This movie has an outlandish premise in the vein of Being John Malkovich or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: your soul is a physical thing that is extractable, easily removed and returned. In addition, it is sometimes preferable to be without a soul for a while, or to borrow someone else's. It's not the premise that bothered me but the fact that the film did nothing with this concept: neither dark comedy nor insight into whether the soul is the essence of humanity. Some visually beautiful scenes, very good actors, and yet it all seemed flat and...soul-less. This film did make me want to see Uncle Vanya on stage, as I was reminded what a great play it is.
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Format: DVD
This movie was marketed at a comedy of sorts, but it is actually quite plodding and dour. Paul Giamatti plays a beleaguered NYC theater actor (named Paul Giamatti) who is having a hard time dealing with the psychological anxiety of playing the lead in Checkhov's seminal Uncle Vanya, so he enlists the help of a team of Soul-storers led by the excellent (yet dry) David Stratham. They remove his soul under the guise of making his life better, and for a while, it seems to work. Gradually, he realizes tht soullessness is no fun, as a soul makes you human. (there is also a vague subplot concerning the Russian mob and similarly murky dream sequences involving old greying corpse-like men and small children that play like watered-down David Lynch) The film progresses like a slower version of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, without the love-story angle or exciting visuals...and really, come to think about it, without the interesting characters involved in the whole scheme of muddling with intangibility (Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst equalled out Jim Carrey's sadness in that film, here there is no comic relief...just more mopey, flat characters like the Russian girl) There is a pretty drab blue, smoky color palate at work here, and a lot of talented character actors doing their cold, straight-man routines. There are a lot of scenes of Giamatti just staring off at things in a faux-existential stupor. This tactic, while it reinforces his soulless ennui, is painfully slow. Occasional humor permeates the cloud of despondence, as when Paul admits to his wife that he has been turned into a empty, staggering vessel, or when (soulless) his Uncle Vanya takes on a brash, kooky aspect. Otherwise the film is morose, yet admirably well-lit. Intriguing internal conflict aside, there is a serious lack of momentum as well as memorable scenes.
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Format: DVD
I'm a huge fan of Paul Giamatti, so I couldn't resist when I saw a DVD promising a roll-on-the-floor comedic performance. Sadly, this movie didn't live up to its billing. Admittedly there were a few parts of the story (mostly toward the beginning) that had us laughing out loud, but they were too few and far between to justify the claims on the label. The longer the story went on, the less funny it became, and most of the second half barely got a chuckle out of us.

While the premise of the story was novel and certainly held out some promise for a solid comedy, most of the movie was just plain dark, depressing and surreal. Much of it is set in Russia, which is depressing enough by itself. The themes are dark. The suicide of a marginal character is dark. The use of lighting is, well, dark. Yes, there are some places where it works and evokes some laughs, but the rest of the movie just doesn't work -- unless you have an extremely dry, somewhat twisted sense of humor. To his credit, Giamatti's usual stellar performance was the one bright spot. Not recommended for most viewers.
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