Yes, I’m aware this is the remake. You can fault me for going for the sleeker American product instead of the Russian original from 1971. In my defence, Steven Soderbergh’s version (aka “The one with George Clooney”) is the one that I have on my notes although I can’t remember if this movie was mentioned during Fantasia 2018 or possibly I might have written it down for a completely different reason. Also, the 1971 version is harder to find, in Russian and almost three hours long.
Director Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris is the story of psychologist Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) and grieving widower who is sent to investigate what happened to the crew of a scientific space station orbiting the mysterious planet of the same name. Requested by name by Dr. Gibarian, a former colleague and part of the scientific team, Chris arrives to find his friend has committed suicide. The two remaining members, Dr. Gordon (Viola Davis) and Dr. Snow (Jeremy Davies) are elusive, secretive and will not tell him what is going on.
The movie progresses in two timelines, one detailing the events in the present and the other revealing Chris meeting his wife Rheya (Natasha McElhone) for the first time. As we learn more about Chris’ life the mystery of Solaris deepens the moment that Chris wakes up and finds that he’s not alone. Now at this point, the film could’ve easily veered into horror territory. It doesn’t. Instead, we get to delve a little deeper into philosophical themes of personal loss and identity. There are pivotal moments in the film where you might find yourself switching sides between one character to another.
Although I’ve been planning to see this film for a while, I knew it was a slow burn and despite the science fiction setting it is more of a psychological drama so I waited. I really wouldn’t mind discussing the ending of the film at length, which I understand deters from the original ending but I really want to encourage you to watch it. The performance of the cast is quite outstanding.
Highly recommended for fans of contemplative slow burn stories. Don’t expect too much sci-fi but you’ll get a nominal amount. It’s not a love story. This is a story about a love story that ended in loss and the inability to heal and move on. Soderbergh has been quoted saying if the audience does not enjoy the first 10 minutes of the movie, they might as well leave. I would say you should wait until you’re in the proper mood. It was worth the wait for me.
That will do for now.