Sunday, March 27, 2005

Solaris (2002)

A very different space saga, and certainly not for everyone

Genre: Sci-Fi Drama Romance

Starring: George Clooney (Syriana; O Brother, Where Art Thou?), Natascha McElhone (Ronin; The Truman Show)

Directed By: Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies, And Videotape; Ocean's Eleven)

Overview: A psychiatrist is sent to rescue a team of researchers, but instead finds himself engrossed in the reason they never went home.

Acting: There were a couple of issues, Jeremy Davies role of Snow was a tad underdirected. Viola Davis plays a touch too paranoid for my liking. The headliners do a great job though. I'm not a Clooney fan, and this movie made me think to reconsider.
Rating: 7

The shots are terrific. I had a bit of a problem with the darkening of the top of the screen to represent memory flashbacks, but Solaris is pretty and the sets are appropriately futuristic. What did it though, were the artsy film noir-esque shots that kept popping up. Really nice.
Rating: 8

The script was great, if empty of direction. Luckily I'm not one of those people who asks, "what's going on?" every 10 minutes, so I give it kudos in spite. They explain just enough to keep you guessing along with the players.
Rating: 8

The plot's little details were definitely hard to follow in that "everything must be explained" kind of way. Remember the end of 2001? Nothing so vague, but now you get the idea. As for the overall plot, very believable, no holes. Good stuff. Neat concept. I like it when I'm not lead by the nose.
Rating: 8

The mood is the thing. Combined with a very believable near future realism, the slow trip we take into the character's haunted memories and the psychological ordeal which he faces is improved by the themes and imagery. The danger in putting so much stock in theme is this: if someone doesn't like it, it can ruin the whole movie. Be careful of this one. If you don't like it, you'll hate it. Rating: 9

No Total Recall three-titted space hookers in this one...

Overall Rating: 80% (Real Bright)

Aftertaste: Everyone told me this was going to be boring and stupid, except for the person who lent it to me. We have very similar tastes in film, so I put my faith in him. Now I understand how both opinions can stand. In a way it's not sci-fi at all, it's pure true psychological thriller, but without all the suspense. I liked it. It's more of a slow exploration of memory and the mind, and since we aren't "Spielbeurged" through the plot and imagery, the regular movie crowds may not like it. I'm not the regular movie crowd...