Dr. Gibarian, part of a team at a space station studying Solaris, makes an urgent and self-described bizarre video request to his friend, civilian psychiatrist Dr. Chris Kelvin, to come to the station to deal with an unspecified phenomenon aboard, that phenomenon with which Chris' experience and background may be able to explain and solve. Chris learns that his trip is sanctioned by the space program as a security force had been sent to the station to investigate, that security team which is now missing. When Chris arrives at the station, he finds only two surviving team members, Drs. Gordon and Snow (Dr. Gibarian committed suicide), who are both acting nervously. Chris also finds two unexpected people there, the first, who Chris only sees fleetingly, being Dr. Gibarian's adolescent son Michael, and the second being Chris' deceased wife, Rheya. Chris and Rheya had a passionate relationship in all its good and bad before she committed suicide. Apparently, these appearances of loved ...Written by
In the final train scene, a Chicago L platform sign (Merchandise Mart) is clearly visible, though out of focus. Footage of the sign must have been looped to make the station seem much longer than it actually is: on the side of the station that's open to backlight, there are only two such signs mounted on metal balustrades, about 25 feet apart, but in the movie the train appears to pass more than a dozen. See more »
Gordon says she's getting agoraphobic. Agoraphobia is an irrational fear of going out and facing crowds of people. Gordon is living on a Space Station. See more »
[Chris's memories, in voiceover]
Chris, what is it? I love you so much. Don't you love me anymore?
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There are no credits at the beginning. All the credits are at the end of the film. See more »
I must give Soderbergh credit for trying, but I agree with many other reviewers who find significant flaws in this movie.
I will be brief.
First, contrary to what some other reviewers have stated, there is no need whatsoever for the science fiction component of this story. It may as well have taken place at a cabin on a lake in Maine. In this respect, it betrays the legacies of both Lem and Tarkovsky.
Second, the questions it raises are not particularly profound ones. Do we feel guilt and how does it affect us? Is memory reality? What would we do when given a second chance, and would it trivialize all we have previously experienced? Unfortunately, these are developed and explored no better than the hypothetical question, "If you could be invisible, what would you do?" And where Soderbergh apparently wishes to address issues in casual conversation, the thoughts of these supposedly highly-educated and experienced individuals are, in fact, quite banal.
Third, the acting is above-average, but not in any way exceptional. I truly am a rationalist and skeptic, just like Clooney's character, and I did not identify with his character or his situation at all.
Finally, the movie is indeed very slowly paced. No, I wasn't looking for giant bugs or technical dissertations on cryo-sleep...I just wanted some advancement of the plot...or at least some character development.
In summary, this movie is slightly interesting, but it is ultimately frustrating and unfulfilling. Like some other reviewers, I kept bringing up the time remaining display on the DVD player and thinking, "I've still got 45 minutes of this to sit through?"
Rating: * out of ****
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