Yes, It's A Charlie Kaufman Pastiche Starring Paul Giamatti. Got A Problem With That?

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Cold Souls stars Paul Giamatti as an actor named Paul Giamatti, struggling with ennui. He gets his soul removed in an arcane procedure, but things don't go as he'd hoped, in this new trailer. Is "Charlie Kaufman" becoming a genre?

As derivative as Cold Souls is — and it looks very derivative, so far — it still may be awesome. For one thing, Giamatti is one of those actors who was born to do Kaufman-esque surreal anomie. I'd way rather watch a Kaufman clone starring Giamatti than one starring Will Ferrell, pretty much any day.

And Cold Souls, from writer-director Sophie Barthes, is clearly about something: At least, the trailer makes it clear that the "soul removal" thing is a blatant metaphor for anti-depressants, and our fixation with chemical solutions to psychological problems generally. And then it takes that fun right turn with the "soul trafficking" thing, before going fully surreal. So I'm pretty much down. And maybe having a better class of imitators will spur Kaufman to new heights?

(According to someone at IMDB, mentioning the similarities between this film and Kaufman's work is a good way to get Barthes annoyed. Sorry about that.)


Cold Souls comes out in "limited release" in the United States on August 7.