Cold Souls

Cold Souls

(M) Madman DVD

This is a film that leaves some people rolling on the floor laughing and others wondering what just happened.

It has a silly premise — to some extent supported by Rene Descartes — which it takes seriously. There is a great deal of deadpan humour but, while laughing, your enjoyment of the story requires that you take the premise seriously.

The premise: that the soul resides physically inside the brain and it is possible to de-soul the body or disembody the soul. And, being possible, there are ways to make money out of it. And, if you can make money out of it, there is a legal market and a black market and, in the modern world, a global market. And where there is trade in illicit substances you will find mules, attempting to sneak the goods to foreign buyers.

When actor Paul Giamatti (played by actor Paul Giamatti) finds himself struggling to play Chekov’s Uncle Vanya because his soul is weighing him down, he discovers that one Dr Flintstine (David Strathairn) can put the problem in soul storage. When you get rid of the soul, he is told, everything makes more sense.

Is he mad or a fool? Has he just lost his sense of humour?

When he finds himself growing insensitive he borrows the soul of a “Russian poet” … smuggled in from the unregulated Russian soul market — and a parallel story converges with the actor’s.

Cold Souls has charm and is attractively photographed. And it has soul — so be prepared for an unbearable weight that could inhibit your mirth.

Stephen Webb


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