Solaris

Leah aind I rented and watched Steven Soderburgh’s Solaris last night, the remake of the old russian film. Starring George Clooney (or as I said after the movie, Georg (gay-org) Cloonitov) & Natascha McElhone, I remember that it had got fairly mixed reviews and a common comment of ‘whaaaa?’

(warning, semi-spoilers in here)

It’s one of thoe meditative, beautiful films, fairly European in feel. The scoring was fantastic, the choice of music (and the choice of when not to have music) had an amazing effect on the atmosphere portrayed.

Like a fair number of recent space movies, space is not the wondrous adventure of yore (see Star Trek), but rather a scary, incomprehensible and rather claustrophobic place. Solaris is set in a future where space travel is beginning to get frills, but not quite at a level of comfort or luxury.

It seemed to me to be a sort of treatise about the human experience of the incomprehenisble: explaining/humanizing God vs. acceptance of the impossibility to understand something so much more vast that is the human experience. Is Solaris heaven? Or God? who knows? It doesn’t really seem to matter.

Leah commented after the film “so that’s what Heaven’s like”. Which I have to say, seemed rather more Hellish to me. The other theme running through this film was the imperfection of memory, as people confront figments of their own, incomplete, of course, because they don’t remember their own experience of the event, but rather the rememberer’s. So an eternity of cyclicly reliving these imperfect memories, be they happy or sad, just seems rather Hellish. Particularly if you had a growing awareness of the repetition, or a dawning understanding of it’s imperfection as you relive the moment.

If you like slow, artsy films, this film is beautifully done. Those who liked The Limey will most likely like this movie, as alot of the cinematic elements are done the same. Soderburgh uses this one technique frequently, tht I quite like, wherein we watch two characters, and hear them speaking with each other, but they’re not speaking on screen. It leaves me wondering so many things: is this the conversation they just had? Is one of them imagining this? Is this what their body language is saying? I like the open-endedness of the technique.