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Solaris

Solaris

The new George Clooney/Steven Soderbergh collaboration Solaris isn't really for sci-fi die-hards though it's set in space.  It has got the ambition (and then some) of the director's recent misfire in Full Frontal and is able to frustrate and stimulate.

Calling to mind an aura of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris traverses one's inner self in a unique, if spellbinding hybridization of a love story and psychological mystery.  Those who know Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky's epic 1972 version of Polish novelist Stanislaw Lem's 1961 novel will see the similarities and differences when it comes to the spiritual consciousness existing with George Clooney's Dr. Chris Kelvin.

This hypnotic character-driven tale boasts some quietly lush cinematography and a romantic tone that may very well entrance female audiences (not just because of the press about Clooney's backside).

Still, the screen play adapted by Soderbergh invites intrigue as Chris, a psychologist, is remanded to a space station, Prometheus, orbiting the title planet.  The doctor is the one needed to understand why crew members have vanished.

Solaris can be melancholic, especially in its opening.  Soderbergh works in a new way with Clooney to probe a collision of memories and dreams, recreations and sensations.

What is surprising for Chris is winding up next to his wife Rheya, played wisely by Natascha McElhone.  What Chris remembers on Earth of her pain leading to a suicide after their relationship became strained is like a "cruel miracle" as she's in bed, unclothed.

Where Solaris shines brightest is the awakenings between husband and wife and the opportunities that unite reality and illusion.

Most audiences will find this escapade too bewildering, and too dreamy and detached for it to become like Kubrick's seminal opus.  Like Clooney's subtly visceral grace turns in one of his most difficult role's to date, the hope and despair hovering around the past and present is a weird orbit into the outer reaches of the mind.

 
Frank
Chris
Tony
Jim
Howard
Jennifer
Kathleen
Avg.
Solaris
C
 
 
B-
B
B-
C
C+
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