If you think that there is a solution, you'll die here.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * * )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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We're surrounded by really bad movies. Our summers are filled with Bruckheimer movie. It is smart, simple, and benefits the entire industry. Solaris is one of the best science fiction movies I've seen in years.

There is nothing typical about Solaris. Many people avoid it because it has Vertigo.

There are a couple of hard-to-take romantic introduction between slick George Clooney and his young wife. Their introduction is very Hollywood. Their romance is based on silent interludes on subways and conversations built completely on body language. Clooney's suave character shatters like a hammer after his first night on the space station above the giant gas planet of Solaris. All of the typical George Clooney self securities die. He is put in an impossible and horribly psychologically damaging position and he make bad choices. You can see his torment in every movement. One shot of him, simply sitting and staring at the impossible figure in front of him, shows more acting talent than in every Bruckheimer movie in the last 20 years.

The special effects in Solaris are subtle. The only big effect is the planet of Solaris itself, a gleaming ball of red and blue gasses. The society is understated. Two agents of an unknown corporation visit our hero, their faces never in focus. The smaller of the two wears a derby. There are no big shots of flying space cars. There is little time spent on his travel from Earth to Solaris. None of that is important. The movie removes entire pieces of the story that are simply not necessary. We find our minds trying to fill in some of the gaps, and the movie is more effective because of it.

The DVD of Solaris is very well done. There is a 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture and a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. It includes a director's commentary with director James Cameron.

Soderbergh's Out of Sight were all simple movies that didn't try to grow outside of their expectations. None of them did very well, but a lot of folks know who he is and what he has done. Solaris is one of the best science fiction movies in the last five years. It does so by cutting out any gratuitous effects or sub-plots. It does so with clear deliberate dialog and excellent acting. It is a movie I'll be talking about for a long time.