Солярис: To dream

[Screenshot]Solaris is one of those films a lot fo people like despite obvious flaws. I think this is what makes for True Art, or something. Anyways, I found myself conflicted. There’s a lot of very good cinemacraft here but some very poor assembly. The film would’ve been marvelous if they’d trimmed some of the fat off. It’s awfully easy to compare Solaris to 2001, from their sci-fi veneer concealing a more metaphorical form of exploration to the languid, indeed almost torpid, pacing. Solaris impressed me rather more, because I think it was, in the end about a more interesting form of exploration, and with a more coherent ending (I’m still waiting for someone who hasn’t read the book to independently come up with an explanation of 2001‘s ending that makes a lick of sense). If they’d had fewer long atmospheric shots in which nothing happens (like Burton’s car ride, whose significance, even after watching the film, remains incomprehensible), this film would be a finely-crafted narrative. As it stands now, it feels a bit too insubstantial for its length. It’s too bad, because the cinemacraft is generaly good. There’s a great deal of mood-setting with the film’s eerie silence: when nobody’s talking, the soundtrack is disconcerting in its sparseness. Of course, this is doubly disconcerting during those long stretches of nothing-going-on. If I was supposed to be antsy and uncomfortable, it works. I’d just like to see a way of making it work which doesn’t make me feel like my time’s being wasted.

All in all, I’d recommend Solaris if there were a trimmed director’s cut or something. What is does, it does very well, and when the plot’s progressing it’s absorbing and intriguing. Alas, I kept fixating on the wrong things, seeing Hari’s shawl and wondering where I could find a pattern. But that’s just me.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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