Cold Souls

Rating = B

I liked this better than the critics mostly liked it.

The acting is fine. Paul Giamatti is excellent, and Dina Korzun and David David Strathairn are better yet. [The great] Emily Watson isn't given anything to do.

In an era where there is undoubtedly illegal traffic in body parts, having to think about human “mules” carrying souls back and forth between Russia and the United States is surprisingly relevant. The idea of borrowing or loaning one's soul — more generally, commoditizing souls leading eventually to a hedge fund buyout — also seems awfully topical.

The movie engaged me from beginning to one scene before the end.

The plot is no better than that of “Sleeper” by Woody Allan, who the director of this movie purportedly had in mind for the lead role Giamatti plays in “Cold Souls.” It is similarly zany and ultimately pointless.