is a film about mood and atmosphere. As a motion picture, it is a
remarkable visual achievement, but it’s also devoid of emotion. We
can admire the structure and tone of it, but it never makes us think
a whole lot. The meaning isn’t clear cut in the end, and leaves an
opening for many interpretations, but this just makes Solaris
less effective. It still is, quite an achievement, on director
Soderbergh’s and the actor’s parts.
The problem is
evident. Solaris is most flawed in the writing department,
which is quite understandable because it tries to embrace many
theories and issues that most other films would never even think of
trying to explore. But, nonetheless, flaws are flaws. This film
fails because it has such a strong ambition, but this is also the
reason why it works. There is no way Solaris could’ve been
better than it already is, and we must come to accept this. Is it
worth your buck? At a matinee showing, perhaps.
Solaris was made in 1972, by Russian director Andrei
Tarkovsky. In short, it defied many of the laws of filmmaking, as we
knew them, and will always be hailed as a masterpiece. It was
thoughtful and insanely intelligent; a treasure, a strike of genius.
I suppose that this is the reason why I’m being so hard on this,
new, Hollywood-style version. As a rule of thumb, writer/directors
should never attempt to remake great films—it has never, and will
never, work. The most vivid example of this is Gus Van Sant’s
version of Psycho. When trying to add to a flawless picture,
it can only be for the worse. If Solaris had actually worked,
I would’ve been shocked.
is also insanely and irrationally pretentious. Most of the time,
we’re frustrated, and even annoyed by it. If I wanted to feel
uncomfortable during a movie, due to tension, I would do so in the
sanctity of my own home. Gaps of silence and squeamish dialogue are
used in this movie, in an attempt to make it a more effective
picture. But, one thing’s for sure, Solaris is, most of the
time, only effective as a heavy, drawn-out mess.
and Natascha McElhone do give superb performances, though. The roles
in this movie were noticeably tricky to play, but the two leads
definitely proved their acting skills worthy. Clooney captures so
many different emotions, playing the part of Chris Kelvin, a
psychiatrist sent to the mysterious planet Solaris; it’s hard to
deny that his work is anything short of masterful. It’s really too
bad that Solaris is, ultimately, a waste of talent.
flawed in the end, Solaris is just engaging enough to be
worth seeing. With spectacular performances, astonishing visuals,
and deserving attempts, it bears enough positive features for us to
admire it, as well. Trying to remake Tarkovsky is tough, and I think
that Soderbergh’s done a passable job. Even though it’s far from a
great movie, I expect that most people will be happy with Solaris,
just the way it is.
-Danny, Bucket Reviews