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Solaris (2002) (Full)
Actors: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Ulrich Tukur, Viola Davis, Jeremy Davies
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
PG-13     2003     1hr 39min

A curious mix of science fiction and metaphysical love story, Solaris centers around Chris Kelvin (George Clooney), a psychologist sent to investigate why a space station orbiting an alien planet has stopped communicati...  more »


Movie Details

Actors: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Ulrich Tukur, Viola Davis, Jeremy Davies
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Creators: Steven Soderbergh, Charles V. Bender, Gregory Jacobs, James Cameron, Jon Landau, Michael Polaire, Stanislaw Lem
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: James Cameron, Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 07/29/2003
Original Release Date: 11/27/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 11/27/2002
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 12/21/2014...
Complete garbage 0/5 rating. I want my time wasted by wasting this movie. George Clooney should be ashamed to have made this crappy of a movie.
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Intriguing mood piece
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 12/09/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Since nobody had the wherewithal or wisdom to re-release "2001" in the actual year 2001, a remake of Andrei Tarkovsky's comparable "Solaris" in 2002 would seem the next best thing. Like those two earlier films, Steven Soderbergh's latest work is something of an "art" science fiction film, far more concerned with philosophy and theme than with action and suspense. This may make the film a tough slog for modern day audiences who have been conditioned to be jolted out of their seats every five minutes while watching films of this genre. But for the deeper thinkers among us, "Solaris" offers a fairly intriguing sci-fi vision of the afterlife, a sort of new religious paradigm for the twenty-first century. George Clooney stars as Chris Kelvin, a successful psychiatrist whose mentally ill wife - ironically enough, given his profession - killed herself a few years back. Chris is commissioned to travel to a space station orbiting the planet Solaris after strange things begin happening to the crew aboard the ship. It turns out that dead loved ones have started appearing to the people there, leading a number of the crewmembers to descend into madness and, in the worst cases, even commit suicide. It's not long before Chris' own dead wife, Rheya, arrives on the scene, prompting him to question whether she is real, a replica created for an unknown reason by the forces of the mysterious planet, or merely a figment of his own troubled conscience and imagination. The film taps into that desire we all have of somehow being miraculously reunited with a deceased love one. We can't help but be moved by Chris' intense desire to believe that all that is happening is real and that life with this person could indeed start back up where it left off. Clooney does a beautiful job conveying the inner struggle between the grieving husband who wants to reconnect emotionally with this strangely familiar woman whom he had thought forever lost to him and the rationalistic scientist who suspects that both she and their relationship are illusory and ephemeral. The film itself may be glacially paced, but the tension created by the situation pulls us through. Natascha McElhone brings an ethereal beauty to the role of the dead wife, and we are moved by her own confusion as to whether she is really this woman Rheya or merely some fabrication usurping the memories and feelings of someone long gone from the scene. Clooney and McElhone generate a strong romantic chemistry between them, both in the scenes aboard the ship and in the manifold flashbacks the storytellers use to reveal their relationship back on Earth. Viola Davis gives an intense performance as Helen Gordon, the rationalist of the group who tries to convince Chris that he must overcome his feelings and destroy this facsimile of Rheya or risk bringing potential destruction to the people back home."Solaris" has been shot in the widest screen ratio I have seen in years. It almost feels like one of those old Cinerama pictures from the 1950's and 1960's, which is surprising actually, given the fact that, for all its outer space trappings, the film is really an intimate, personal drama in quality and scale (if you rent this on video, do NOT opt for the "full screen" treatment; rather, make sure it is in the letterboxed format). Also, the set design and special effects are actually rather understated for a modern science fiction film - as is everything about "Solaris" in fact. Like "2001," "Solaris" is filled with images and concepts whose significance and meaning aren't always readily apparent or easily spelled out for the audience. Just be forewarned that the film is more along the lines of a tone poem than a rip-roaring action adventure tale."Solaris" isn't a great film and I can certainly see why many people, expecting something different, might find themselves becoming restive and bored by it. For me, the film managed to seep under my skin and kept me interested most of the time. This is definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but for those with patience and an appreciation for something a little different, "Solaris" has its share of rewards."
"Solaris" Intellectual Sci-Fi
Matthew Wall | 03/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Solaris" tells the story of a planet that reads minds, and obliges its visitors by devising and providing people they have lost, and miss. The Catch-22 is that the planet knows no more than its visitors know about these absent people. As the film opens, two astronauts have died in a space station circling the planet, and the survivors have sent back alarming messages. A psychiatrist named Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) is sent to the station, and when he awakens after his first night on board, his wife, Rheya (Natascha McElhone), is in bed with him. Some time earlier on earth, she had committed suicide."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.Even scarier is Gordon, the scientist played by Viola Davis, who has seen whatever catastrophe overtook the station and does not consider Kelvin part of the solution. In his gullibility will he believe his wife has somehow really been resurrected? And ... what does the planet want? Why does it do this? As a favor, or as a way of luring us into accepting manifestations of its own ego and need? Will the human race eventually be replaced by the Solaris version?Clooney has successfully survived being named People magazine's sexiest man alive by deliberately choosing projects that ignore that image. His alliance with Soderbergh, both as an actor and co-producer, shows a taste for challenge. Here, as Kelvin, he is intelligent, withdrawn, sad, puzzled. Certain this seems to be his wife, and although he knows intellectually that she is not, still--to destroy her would be ... inhuman. The screenplay develops a painful paradox out of that reality. The genius of Lem's underlying idea is that the duplicates, or replicants, or whatever we choose to call them, are self-conscious and seem to carry on with free will from the moment they are evoked by the planet. Rheya, for example, says, "I'm not the person I remember. I don't remember experiencing these things." And later, "I'm suicidal because that's how you remember me."In other words, Kelvin gets back not his dead wife, but a being who incorporates all he knows about his dead wife, and nothing else, and starts over from there. She has no secrets because he did not know her secrets. If she is suicidal, it is because he thought she was. The deep irony here is that all of our relationships in the real world are exactly like that, even without the benefit of Solaris. We do not know the actual other person. What we know is the sum of everything we think we know about them. Even empathy is perhaps of no use; we think it helps us understand how other people feel, but maybe it only tells us how we would feel, if we were them.At a time when many American movies pump up every fugitive emotion into a clanging assault on the audience, Soderbergh's "Solaris" is quiet and introspective. There are some shocks and surprises, but this is not "Alien." It is a workshop for a discussion of human identity. It considers not only how we relate to others, but how we relate to our ideas of others--so that a completely phony, non-human replica of a dead wife can inspire the same feelings that the wife herself once did. That is a peculiarity of humans: We feel the same emotions for our ideas as we do for the real world, which is why we can cry while reading a book, or fall in love with movie stars. Our idea of humanity bewitches us, while humanity itself stays safely sealed away into its billions of separate containers, or "people."When I saw Tarkovsky's original film, I felt absorbed in it, as if it were a sponge. It was slow, mysterious, confusing, and I have never forgotten it. Soderbergh's version is more clean and spare, more easily readable, but it pays full attention to the ideas and doesn't compromise. Tarkovsky was a genius, but one who demanded great patience from his audience as he ponderously marched toward his goals. The Soderbergh version is like the same story freed from the weight of Tarkovsky's solemnity. And it evokes one of the rarest of movie emotions, ironic regret."
A haunting and mesmerizing look at human loss
qmlhcb | Michigan | 01/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Solaris is a film that not everyone will walk away embracing. Many will, in fact, walk away loathing it, carrying a reaction of boredom and anger at wasting their money to see it. But others, such as myself, will come away delighted from a wonderful, cerebral film that carries with it a heavy question: What would you do if you could regain an artificial version of something you lost?The reason many will hate Solaris is because of its deliberately slow pace with little action or dialogue. Everything spoken and seen has a significant purpose, not a moment is wasted. And many expecting a certain genre of film won't get what they want out of it, either. It isn't science fiction exactly, and it's not really a romance or horror. It's a film that takes elements of all these to create a simple story about irreplaceable loss and what you might do if you somehow found a way to replace it with a shadow of its former self.The film, a remake of a 1972 film of the same name, and based on a book by Stanislaw Lem, follows psychiatrist Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) who is assigned to visit a space station orbiting the planet Solaris. Something strange is going on and a team sent to investigate it never returned. Kelvin, who has some experience with the crew, is the owning company's last chance before giving up on the station. When Kelvin arrives, there are only two crew members left. When his deceased wife suddenly appears at his bedside, Kelvin gets wrapped up in the strange goings-on, and tries to get to the bottom of things. But one of the themes of this film is some things in life have no answers, as Kelvin soon discovers. What really makes this film work is the way it presents questions and ideas such as these, leaving the audience time to ponder them. As Kelvin learns his resurrected wife isn't quite real, the viewer is forced to consider if they would want to live with an imitation of a lost love, or rely only on memories. And the question of the accuracy of memory is also raised. How well do we remember how people truly were?What really aides the tone of Solaris is its mixing of genres. There are many science fiction touches, and the film seems to use much of the visual style of 2001, A Space Odyssey. But the experience is more human and intimate then that large scale film. It uses some horror elements, including an unsettling score and a potentially scary situation, much like in the film Event Horizon. But it never becomes in your face scary, it's held back a notch. There is romance through flashbacks, as Kelvin remembers the love he once had, and how he lost it. But the somber tone drowns out any happiness there once was. This mix, combined with wonderfully scripted yet simple dialogue create a haunting atmosphere that will open the door to hours of discussion after the film. Much of that discussion will revolve around the film's cryptic ending. It's a conclusion that everyone will have to decide for themselves what happens. After all, as the film so eloquently states, there are no answers, only choices.The film uses some simple methods to keep the story flowing and avoid confusion. Most apparent is the use of blue lighting on the station, and yellow lighting on Earth to keep straight the flashbacks with present time. The results are subtle but unmistakable. Also, director Steven Soderbergh wisely keeps the film length exceptionally short, as the slow pacing of the film, a necessity to its subject, makes the film seem longer then it is. The acting is also top notch. With a very small cast, Clooney plays his role perfectly, seeming to carry a great weight of grief throughout, and Jeremy Davies as one of the remaining crew members manages to bring a little light-heartedness to the dreary nature of the film.As stated before, this film isn't for everyone. If you look at film as simply entertainment, then skip Solaris. But if you want to see something intelligent, thought provoking and stunningly beautiful, then Solaris is highly recommended."