Lost Souls (Janusz Kaminski, 2000)
[originally posted 1Feb2002]
Is it any wonder Winona Ryder has been reduced to stealing from boutiques on Rodeo Drive? She progressed immediately from work on the howler Girl, Interrupted straight into this similarly awful shocker. The difference between the two is that Lost Souls, at least, seems as if it might have been a decent film at one point in its miserable existence; the former piece of work was unsaveable in any way, shape, or form.
If there WAS a good film to be found in Lost Souls, it was left on the cutting room floor. What’s left is a jumble of cutscenes likely to give even the most astute viewer vertigo. The plot has all but disappeared, but seems to involve a few exorcisms and a true crime writer (rising star Ben Chaplin) who a number of renegade priests believe is the second coming of the antichrist.
Kaminski made his name as one of Spielberg’s top cinematographers, and so it’s to be expected that the film will at least look good, and in that it succeeds quite nicely. What little appeal the film has comes from its visuals, which use the same basic dark-on-black motif Kaminski used in his cinematographer days on such visually effective Spielberg outings as Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. Problem is, the visuals aren’t enough to carry the film. There are too many plot holes for a Hollywood veteran, which leads me to the conclusion that at one point this film was much longer and actually had coherence; otherwise, it wouldn’t have drawn such star power as it’s got (along with Ryder and Chaplin, the film also boasts Elias Koteas, Alfre Woodard, John Hurt, and a few other easily recognizable folks). As it is, though, stay far, far away. **