This afternoon I settled down to watch Solaris. A Steven Soderberg film starring George Clooney. I didn’t really have much of a clue about the premise of the film, but that’s okay, that’s how I like it. Clooney plays “Dr Chris Kelvin”, a man who is given the task of going aboard a space ship/station – the “solaris” mission. It’s all a bit weird from the off. Kelvin finds two corpses on entering the space station and events being to unfold. It’s not really clear what’s going on right from the off and that remains the feel throughout the whole film. It’s hard to say whether I liked it or not, but it had an interesting storyline, that much is undeniable. Kelvin wakes from his sleep on the first night to find his wife sleeping next to him. Not too odd you might think, except that his wife didn’t go with him into space. That and she’s dead. Yet there she is, laying in his bed and chatting away to him. Understandably freaked out, Kelvin bungs her in a escape module and shoots her off into space. Perfectly reasonable thing to do, I think we could all agree.
Understandably miffed, Kelvin quizzes the rest of the crew (the two of them that are left). They have also had “visitors” apparently. Some already deceased, some simply living back on Earth. So the question is, where do they come from and why are they there? That night he goes to sleep and wakes up in the morning with his wife, once again, in bed with him. Blissfully ignorant that she’s not supposed to be alive and also unaware that he only just flushed her out into space the day before. Clearly this is rather upsetting to all concerned.
The other two members of the crew decide that the “visitors” should be zapped with a high powered sciencey ray-gun thing, which will hopefully disintegrate them. Kelvin is not too keen on letting his wife go, yet she seems insistent on topping herself. It’s all rather weird. While he’s sleeping, she kills herself with the help of one of the scientists on board. He’s necessarily distraught once more. Then they make a discovery which puts them all on edge. Another body. This time it seems, one of the crew isn’t who they appear to be. Dum dum dum!
I wont say any more for fear of spoiling the entire plot for you. But if you like a bit of sci-fi, this is worth a look. Bear in mind a few things though. It is rather slow, confusing and oddly frustrating. Throughout most of the film, the soundtrack is dominated by a low electric hum from the ships system, which adds to the atmosphere and makes the viewer uneasy. Once I noticed it, I actually thought it was quite clever. When that sound isn’t present, a rather eerie musical soundtrack takes it place; and does the same job with ease. This is not a horror film, don’t get the wrong impression. In fact, there’s rather a lot of nudity and love, it could almost be a rom-com, but for the lack of comedy.
The ending might leave you feeling numb, but I actually quite enjoyed it. The question remains, what is Solaris?
Check it out here.