Stephen Soderbergh takes Full Frontal into the stratosphere with Solaris, a prolonged grief-counseling session with a minimalist sci-fi backdrop. Psychologist Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) is sent to the Solaris space station after the ship’s commander reports strange happenings on board. After shooting the shit with the rambling Snow (an insufferable Jeremy Davies), Chris takes a nap only to discover his dead wife, Rheya (Natascha McElhone), spooning him when he wakes up. And death shall have no dominion. Except on Solaris, that is. Kooky captain Helen Gordon (Viola Davis) watches the proceedings from the sidelines, vomiting the film’s subtext. No doubt as a result of fatigue and stress, Chris allows Rheya to nip at his heels. If the ship itself is the personification of Chris’s troubled psyche then the celestial body outside is some metaphysical realm between actuality and transcendence. Solaris traces Chris’s repeated attempts to abort Rheya’s memory and, ultimately, cope with the implications of her nagging presence. Rheya makes for a curiously self-aware fabrication. Though she seems to fascinatingly exist outside Chris’s imagination, her ability to flashback and recall how she once aborted a child serves only to further the plot along and add layers to Chris’s grief session. Soderbergh successfully sustains the level of etherealness throughout but to what effect? Solaris is burdened by an overly facile Psych 101 discourse that’s every bit as heavy and pretentious as his purposefully inscrutable Full Frontal. Imagine if you will Soderbergh stoned out of his mind trying to make a connecting flight at Miami International Airport with a Dylan Thomas book in one hand and a static electric generator in the other. The suits at Fox are understandably shitting a few bricks over this one. Clooney’s ass will guarantee hefty opening numbers before audiences give Solaris the good ol’ Eyes Wide Shut treatment.
- Stephen Soderbergh
- Stephen Soderbergh
- George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Davies, Viola Davis, Ulrich Tukur, Morgan Rusler
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