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Top Customer Reviews
(1) This film will not be well-liked by most people. There are a ton of spoilers in most reviews, so I'll try to boil it down for its essence to avoid ruining the unfolding of the movie should you choose to see it: a guy goes to a spaceship where weird things are happening and sees his dead wife. Maybe. That's all you need to know about the plot. The movie, some might think is slow, there's no action, it's a head-tripper, and honestly, had I not read the book before and also seen the magnificent Tarkovsky original, I might not have followed what was going on. As such, while I really enjoyed it, I can't call it either a great film nor one that is likely to appeal to a broad cross-section of movie watchers. There are some heady issues surrounding reality, consciousness, life and death, and if you take them too seriously you'll find yourself snoozing.
It's definitely in Soderbergh's style, and it's been fun watching him skip between genres in recent years, but it's more like "The Limey" and less like "Erin Brockovich" if you want to pin it down. While it's not an indy flick -- in the sense it's expensive and bankrolled and produced in Hollywood fashion -- it feels like a small art film or an indy. And please, god, don't expect "Aliens" or "Titanic" because James Cameron's name is over the credits as Producer.
(2) Both the original book and the Tarkovsky film have much to recommend them, although they also share characteristics of being verbally philosophical and talky which this version most assuredly does not. This version is incredibly tight.
(3) If you're a film student or into the mechanics of film, though, this DVD edition is an utter delight.Read more ›
"She's not human," Kelvin is warned by Dr. Helen Gordon (Viola Davis), one of the surviving crew members. Kelvin knows this materialization cannot be his wife, yet is confronted with a person who seems palpably real, shares memories with him and is flesh and blood. The other survivor, the goofy Snow (Jeremy Davies), asks, "I wonder if they can get pregnant?"
This story originated with a Polish novel by Stanislaw Lem that is considered one of the major adornments of science fiction. It was made into a 1972 movie of the same name by the Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky. Now Steven Soderbergh has retold it in the kind of smart film that has people arguing about it on their way out of the theater.
The movie needs science fiction to supply the planet and the space station, which furnish the premise and concentrate the action, but it is essentially a psychological drama. When Kelvin arrives on the space station, he finds the survivors seriously spooked. Soderbergh directs Jeremy Davies to escalate his usual style of tics and stutters, to the point where a word can hardly be uttered without his hands waving to evoke it from the air.Read more ›
Walt Whitman once said, "Great poems demand great audiences." And so it is with this film: passive, spoon-fed viewers need not watch. The filmmaker trusts in the intelligence & depth of soul of those who do watch. Everything contributes to the establishing & sustaining of its mood: gorgeous cinematography, haunting music, a tasteful underplaying of special effects.
No, it's not Tarkovsky's masterpiece -- but it's not meant to be, either. Rather it directs a fine & powerful focus on one aspect of its source material, striving for & achieving an emotionally luminous work of Art. Highly recommended!
Soderbergh focusses the movie on the question, "How do we perceive ourselves and others and how vital is this to the communication process?" Lem and Soderbergh both see the story from the eys of Psychiatrist Kelvin [Clooney]. Soderbergh's opening scenes stress this man's grief and attempts to recover from his wife's suicide. He's soon asked by a long time astronaut friend for help with a delicate situation on a space station orbiting Solaris. Wham! In no time Kelvin is totally befuddled at the mysteries he sees as he boards the space station. There is almost no dialogue, revealing camera shots period. Two surviving astronauts offer cryptic advice. Snow says "I can tell you what is going on, but that really wouldn't tell you what is going on" Gordon says "Until it happens to you, there is really no point in discussing it". Not much help from our director there. What "happens" is the living ocean presents each astronaut with a dreadful gift.
The alien's "gift" to the earthling's was to generate in near perfect [to atomic] detail, the flesh and blood of whatever life was preoccupying the dreams of the astronauts. Kelvin's visitor is his ex-wife Rheya.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not really a SciFi movie. Basically a love story and not a very good one.Published 1 month ago by John Molloy
An overwrought version of Lem's classic story, miscast (Clooney is not right for the Chris Kelvin role), and clumsy.Published 1 month ago by Mark Pietroski
No developement of Solaris or main characters. If you think George C is hot this movie is for you, skip it otherwise. Very shallow.Published 2 months ago by roger hayden
Natascha McElhone co-stars here and is normally excellent. That was the case in RONIN with Robert Deniro and Jean Reno, but this movie is as slow and pointless as can be made. Read morePublished 2 months ago by ReviewMaster
Profound experience of personal loss viewed from perspective of this, different version of a film... Masterful self-identification of actors with the characters...Published 2 months ago by Katherine T. Nowacki
I enjoy a good thinking movie. This one uses science fiction and space to present some interesting ideas. The music is ethereal. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Eric Bradford
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