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Solaris

September 9, 2010

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

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

Review: Steven Soderbergh’s re-fashioning of Andrei Tarkovsky’s legendary sci-fi epic Solyaris (1972) is a concise, tasteful, and generally worthwhile endeavour – its efforts only marginally undermined by an air of earnestness and reverence a degree beyond what might have been ideal. By making most of Solyaris’ theoretical musings accessible though, Soderbergh deserves much credit. Though clearly not a patch on Tarkovsky’s masterful use of sound, image and ‘pitch’ that made Solyaris a colossal treatise on memory and the ‘human condition’, Soderbergh hedges his bets wisely by sticking to his slick cinematographic hallmark (all colour-coded palettes, smooth flashbacks) and in the prioritisation of narrative. By fleshing out the central love affair of Clooney’s lead scientist and his deceased wife in logically-sequenced flashbacks, Soderbergh makes a convincing elegy to lost loved-ones and the well of grief that lurks interminably in the hearts and minds of their survivors. (May 2007)

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