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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Think The Butler Did It
This is a film with not much in the way of resolution but lots of possibilities as to what we are, when we are, and where we are. Set in a space station orbiting the planet Solaris there are plenty of odd happenings as the crew begin to react to something. Given that the film concerns our imaginations and ability to manufacture memories you will not be surprised to find...
Published 9 months ago by Charles Vasey

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you liked 2001 Space Odyssey you might like this ...
This is the story of a space station where the crew has cut off communications with earth. A security force is sent to investigate but disappears - unfortunately we never find out where they disappeared to or even if they came to harm. George Clooney plays Chris Kelvin, a civilian psychologist on earth. He is approached and asked to go to the space station to investigate...
Published on 31 Oct 2007 by Mary Chrapliwy


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Think The Butler Did It, 16 Feb 2014
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a film with not much in the way of resolution but lots of possibilities as to what we are, when we are, and where we are. Set in a space station orbiting the planet Solaris there are plenty of odd happenings as the crew begin to react to something. Given that the film concerns our imaginations and ability to manufacture memories you will not be surprised to find it is hard to determine what is "real" or even what "real" might be. If you like a firm end to a film you'll be spitting nails over this one, if you like to build your own resolution (though one is suggested) then I think you'll enjoy it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you liked 2001 Space Odyssey you might like this ..., 31 Oct 2007
By 
Mary Chrapliwy (NJ, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
This is the story of a space station where the crew has cut off communications with earth. A security force is sent to investigate but disappears - unfortunately we never find out where they disappeared to or even if they came to harm. George Clooney plays Chris Kelvin, a civilian psychologist on earth. He is approached and asked to go to the space station to investigate what is happening with the crew and, since one of the crew members is a close friend of his, they think he may be able to assist the crew from a psychological standpoint and save the mission. Okay, so you can see we're already on pretty shaky ground here. Civilian with no training and trips to outer space don't mix well.

Anyway, When he arrives on the ship there are just two crew members left. His friend has already committed suicide by the time he gets there and there is no mention of anyone else or anything else regarding what may have happened to other people. Anyway, the two remaining crew members don't appear in the movie much after the initial opening. The remainder of the movie is focused on his relationship with his dead wife who mysteriously appears on the ship in his locked room. That's just the opening, and it doesn't get much better.

There are lots of scenes where they just stare at each other without speaking. Everything is dark - you feel like saying "why doesn't anyone turn on the lights!" You wonder if anything is ever going to happen. It was one of the quietest, darkest movies I've ever watched - highly reminiscent of 2001 Space Odyssey. Some people may like this movie, but I'm willing to bet a higher percentage will be on the fence like I am, or just plain dislike it.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing., 18 Mar 2006
By 
Lixma (Earth...usually) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
While Solaris is inevitably labelled Sci-Fi its core themes are distinctly human. Loss, regret and the realization that memory tends to simplify events, people and places. While the original film allows the viewer to muse on the overall, Soderbergh's take focuses on the main protagonist's (Clooney) experience with the strange 'planet'. With only a standard 90 minutes to play with the director has done a good job of explaining the power Solaris wields without having to constantly remind us with new and more bizarre consequences (and special effects).
The visuals sway from the ethereal (Solaris), austere (Earth) and utilitarian (Space Station). On the commentary track, Soderbergh tells us he wanted Solaris to have a 'synaptic' quality to it and the effect is beautiful. Cliff Martinez's score, too, will follow you around for months.
As for the cast, Clooney is excellent as ever. While his performance doesn't require histrionics he makes believable a shrink thrown into a situation where his vocational skills are rendered useless by minds becoming matter. Natascha McElhone is charged with an incredibly difficult role. Her character on Earth is confident, sexy, playful, remote and ultimately suicidal; on Solaris she has to play whatever Clooney's character has in mind...hard work, but admirably done. It's unfortunate that in one weak scene of un-necessary exposition the focus is on McElhone but it's a fault of the screen-writer, not her. Jeremy Davies' Snow is perhaps the character that deserved more attention than was given. Considering his unique 'situation' it would have been worth an extra half hour to explore it. Viola Davis is okay but ultimately pointless. The removal of her character wouldn't have affected the film in anyway and her presence really only fills an authority vacuum on the station.
It's good to see adult themes being explored in the Sci-Fi genre and being embraced by Hollywood heavyweights....and not a LaZer BeAm in sight. Obviously this film won't appeal to the 'action' based wing of Sci-Fi fans and the polarity of opinions shown here is evidence of this. But as a serious slice of "what if", Solaris rewards attention and multiple viewings.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi take on grief and loss, 18 Nov 2007
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
A recently widowed psychologist receives a strange message telling him to travel to the space station Solaris which is studying a spatial phenomena. People from the crew's memories begin appearing and interacting with them, including the psychologist's dead wife. The people appearing don't know they were created by the phenomena and think they are the "real" people interacting with the people they know on Solaris.

An unusual and ostensibly science fiction film, this is really a meditation on grieving, loss, regret and desire. It's about how the choices we make shape our futures and the one thing we can never let go of is the things we can't change but would give anything to be able to. It's about the crippling effect of losing a loved one, and blaming yourself.

Well this film is kind of weird - perhaps because it was so different to what was expected - and I have to admit that I almost nodded off once or twice while I watched it, such was the slowness and laid-back mood of it all. It's worth seeing for Natascha McElhone's eyes though, they are enough to keep any man wide awake. Hints of at least three other sci-fi movies here - 2001 A Space Odyssey, Alien and Event Horizon, and not as good as any of them but ultimately they should not be compared with them. It's kind of odd that it was made at all, was one of my reactions; my better half and I looked at each other at the end and shrugged as if to say, 'Huh?' Confusing at times, boring for the rest of the time, overall pretty much a waste of time. Useful vehicle for the two leading players and little more. Clearly a divider of opinions, one that you will either like a lot or very little.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not what expected, 24 Dec 2005
By 
E. WISE (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
It should be noted that this film is far from your average Sci-Fi, so in that respect if your a Sci-Fi fan you will not get what you expect & will prehaps be dissappointed.
I'm not a Steven Soderberg fan, espically when i look at oceans 11 and 12, nor am i a George Clooney fan either. This film was different, intriguing and beautiful. It was wonderfully shot, and i was captivated by the cuts, and particualrly aware of how awesome the sound was.
Natascha McElhone who has never really made an impression on me that much before, she was always that woman in Ronin in my mind but even she really grabbed me in this, and felt i really saw the beauty that george's character initial saw.
It is a thought provoking film about life and people, with a sci-fi back drop instead of a sci-fi plot. It was really an unexpected suprise, and a pleasent one at that.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars excellent film but terrible DVD, 25 April 2004
This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
This is an excellent film, but on watching the DVD I was immediately putin the wrong frame of mind for such a laid back movie.
The reason? TEN MINUTES of unskippable trailers for dreadful films and copyrightwarnings before the first menu is reached. Totally unacceptable for apurchased DVD.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film to tickle your brain cells, 17 Oct 2005
This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
If you're not particularly a fan of science fiction, don't be put off seeing this film. The fact that this masterpiece is set in space simply adds visual interest to a timeless story about love and loss and reconciliation. George Clooney is simply superb and Natascha McElhone is a radiantly beautiful choice as his is-she-or-isn't-she partner. With haunting music permeating the intriguing plot, and delicately lit and moody camerawork giving subtle clues to the storyline, Solaris is mysterious, gripping, charming and dreamy. It is also ultimately philosophical, leaving it up to you to decide what has happened as the final credits roll. Every so often it really is good to see a film that entertains while also respecting the viewer's intelligence. This surely belongs in the Top 100 movies of all time, and the soundtrack is worthy of any music collection.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 9 Feb 2005
By 
This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
I don't often write reviews, but after seeing the disparaging 'review' from the 'sci-fi fan' I had to wade in and give my two pennies worth.
I admit to not having seen the original... yet... but this film is, in my humblest opinion, sublime. Maybe you either get it or you don't... I would count myself amongst those that get it, but have yet to really fathom it. It delves into the psychology of the story rather than in the science fiction of the setting itself, which I love. The conflict in the characters up to the final acceptance of Clooney's character builds and culminates perfectly. And helped along by the amazing, subtle soundtrack it really is a firm favourite of mine.
Also, forget that this was produced by James Cameron... if you're expecting The Abyss or Aliens you're going to be as disappointed as the sci-fi fan! However, if you're after an intelligent, thought provoking and beautiful film in a science fiction setting then it's perfect for you!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric Soderberg outing, 20 Mar 2004
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This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
Having been unaware of the original I came to this with no preconceived ideas. Your enjoyment of this film will be tempered by your reasons for watching, its a great film for Mr Clooneys fans as there is lots of him on show, its also one of Soderbergs best films. It has highly captivating performances from a good cast and makes you rethink your perceptions right until the end. If you like a film that doesn't neatly parcel everything up for you you will like this, if you prefer a more predictable story with a defined ending then don't bother with it. Go on give it a try.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing space-opera., 28 July 2004
By 
Mr. R. M. Brown (Canterbury, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a fairly hard film to summarise, which is a Good Thing. However, when reading this review a rough idea of genre might help- other than the rather bland 'sci-fi', which is too conformist in this case. In elemental terms, Solaris is Vanilla Sky meets 2001 via Sphere, with light seasoning from a number of notable others. That formula of course still fails to describe it adequately, so it's best just to think of Solaris as beautifully unique.
It's also not the case that the film is overtly sci-fi, something which gave the distributors notorious marketting difficulty. It's more a high concept philosophical film which is incidentally set on board a space station. Psychologist Chris Kelvin (Clooney) is sent to the stranded space station through his association with someone on board, the enigmatic Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur). The Promethius had been orbitting the planet Solaris before contact was lost, and when Kelvin gets on board he is greeted with a disturbing trail of blood which he follows to the mortuary...
The film begins as it means to go on, with long, ponderous shots of Kelvin's Athena shuttle making its way through space against the backdrop of the beautiful, oceanic Solaris. These CGI shots of the station and the planet were rendered at 4000 pixels, and had to be reduced for the film (which is less). The attention to detail is unequalled, and on a good quality player it's totally stunning. Once on board the film heads into philosophical/psychological drama-cum-suspense territory, when Kelvin - and the audience - are faced with unraveling the mystery.
Director Steven Soderbergh (with producer James Cameron) has created a beautiful film - a work of art no less - but one that is extremely difficult to write about. There is little more of the plot that can be revealed without spoiling Solaris, so I won't. The rest of the small cast are all excellent, with the nervy Gordon (Viola Davis) and the skittish Snow (Jeremy Davies), as well as the excellent Natascha McElhone, making up the numbers. The film introduces themes of Descartian philosophy, with characters asking what reality really is, and with engrossing, hypnotic flashbacks and hallicinations (we are never sure which) the story is gradually revealed.
Credit too must go to the man responsible for the music, XX- a score which is so in tune with the action on screen you barely notice it, which is always the mark of greatness. The dreamlike quality of the film is enhanced by both this and the frequent use of soft focus lenses- both the visual effects and production design are stunning, creating a believable future, though one that is not too derivative of other films (Blade Runner's rain besides!). If you liked any of the films mentioned in the first paragraph then you'll almost certainly like this too. Top stuff.
The DVD features an all-too-brief, but awesome, 20 minute making-of including interviews and shoot footage, and the script itself which makes absorbing reading.
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Solaris [2003] [DVD]
Solaris [2003] [DVD] by Steven Soderbergh (DVD - 2003)
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