Friday, January 28, 2011
Written by Sophie Barthes
Directed by Sophie Barthes
Starring Paul Giamatti, Emily Watson, Dina Korzun, David Strathairn
paul giamatti plays himself and is in a funk. his soul feels too heavy to bear. through an article in the "new yorker" he finds a soul storage facility. they remove one's soul and store it. they also offer soul rental. replacing your soul with someone else's. unfortunately, the soul storage industry is so new it is not regulated, and there is all sorts of nefarious things going on with soul mules form russia. giamatti's soul ends up missing and he is desperate to get it back.
This is of that rare kind of movie that enables suspension of disbelief without even trying. Reminiscent of Gondry or Kauffman but without nearly as much baggage, the plot takes us through Mr. Giamatti's troubles and his attempts to fix them and the inevitable snowball effect included in such a venture as if they were just part of the deal. The satisfying resolution leaves one with questions which are enjoyable to ponder, and not frustrating.
Giamatti was the perfect choice for this role. (I'm too lazy to look up if the part was written with him in mind specifically other than to say that his wife has a producer's credit; but that might just be because he's playing himself in bed with another woman.) He's at just that level of fame where we as the audience know that he has to work to work, but he's still fully capable of bringing the gamut. It's really cool and utterly believable to see the naturalistic way that he approaches the main role as well as his character's attempts at acting in the play. This is entirely his movie, and he owns it.
Production matches or exceeds the aesthetic one would expect from this synopsis. Direction was largely unassuming--no particular flourishes come to mind--and the production itself was spot on. From the eerie office space to the warehouse in Russia to the playhouse, everything is just right. I'm forced to wonder (but again too lazy to look up) if they actually did some location shooting in Russia or if they found a more-local place to use for fakery, but no matter
This is great, entirely worth our time, and fully recommended.
pretty awesome. the humor was dry, but i dug it. the concept was original, and done well. the whole topic of the soul was tackled in a way that was believable. there were no grandiose statements made about religion and although the whole movie was philosophical, there were no real discussions of philosophy. it was just presented as an organ. a mysterious, but tangible organ. the events that occur after the extraction are entertaining and kept my attention. i don't even think i was doing anything, but sitting on the couch. there was not a moment of confusion for me, as the viewer, which is a direction this could have easily taken. (a.k.a. too cerebral) it did have whiffs of kauffman, but wasn't nearly as depressing or heavy, my main complaint about kauffman.
i did have a little issue with how it was ended, but that is my only complaint, and it's a tiny one that i can easily overlook. i wish i could remember more, but we watched it a week ago and have been extreme slackers. i would totally recommend this to certain people, but i could also see how this would not be everyone's cup of tea.