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September 9, 2010

Solaris (2002)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Actors: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Davies

solaris3.jpg (300×198)

Synopsis: Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) investigates the trouble a space crew are having near the mysterious planet of Solaris. After arriving, Kelvin suffers severe distress relating to the memory of his deceased wife, Rhea (Natascha McElhone).

Review: Steven Soderbergh’s re-fashioning of Andrei Tarkovsky’s legendary sci-fi epic of the same name is a concise and generally worthwhile endeavour – its efforts only marginally undermined by one or two elements that are diminished in the process of making the work more mainstream: namely a reliance on exposition, and dialogue that literalises the key philosophical themes.

Soderbergh does deserve credit though for at least trying to bring such a serious and unfashionable tale into the multiplex. Though clearly not a patch on Tarkovsky’s masterful use of sound, image and pitch that made his Solaris a colossal treatise on memory and the human condition, Soderbergh hedges his bets wisely by sticking to his slick cinematographic hallmark (colour-coded sequences, smooth flashbacks) and in this prioritisation of story. By fleshing out the central love affair of Clooney’s lead scientist and his deceased wife in an elegant and comprehensible narrative structure, Soderbergh makes a convincing elegy to lost loved-ones and the well of grief that lurks interminably in the hearts and minds of those that grieve them. (May 2007)

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