Solaris; Science-fiction drama, USA, 2002; D: Steven Soderberg, S: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Viola Davis, Jeremy Davies, Ulrich Tukur
Psychologist Chris Kelvin walks through a rainy town. He is summoned to investigate the strange behavior of astronauts orbiting the strange planet Solaris. Once there, he discovers all members have disappeared except Gordon and Snow. He falls asleep, dreaming about his dead wife Rheya, shocked when he finds her in his bed when waking up. It turns out Solaris is able to make copies of real people and grant people's wishes. Rheya doubts if she is the real Rheya, while even Snow turns out to be copy. In the spaceship, Chris imagines he is back on Earth with Rheya again.
Steven Soderbergh's "Solaris", for some a remake of Tarkowski's famous Sci-fi film from '72, for others a new adaptation of Stanislav Lem's novel with he same title, is an interesting and thought provocative psychological drama with a strong touch of romance, but instead of intensity and life it feels rather dead and grey. The story debates about second chances, love that overcomes all obstacles and even faith, since the planet Solaris might even be a symbol for God, yet all those ingredients should have been packed into a better and intriguing movie, not just a dry philosophical essay. The female part of the audience might find it interesting for the sole fact that George Clooney appears naked in one scene, but even they will find the film rather sluggish, inert and pale, despite an interesting end. Still, Soderbergh obviously knows how to insert a few poetic scenes even in such films, and the best one is when the protagonist Chris sleeps and dreams about his dead wife Rheya, while the camera cuts to a shot of a strange blue thread from Solaris' surface that connects with a red one, maybe Chris' consciousness, astounding him when he wakes up and finds Rheya in his bed. Maybe there are some things we can't understand from this hermetic film, but even they are not that interesting to know.