In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_sin_city_a_dame_to_kill_for_ver13

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" doesn't have the electricity of the original, mainly because we've already seen it. Nothing more is really revealed…

Thumb_2p0ieaxagvxbegbvoxstoqbekgl

The One I Love

Unabashedly entertaining at an efficient 91-minutes, "The One I Love" is an extremely confident first feature, with some really fun things to say about identity…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Blog Archives

Reviews

Solaris

  |  

"Solaris" is an interesting exception to the rule. It's a 2 1/2 hour Russian epic, filmed at great expense, and yet it's about the lives and emotions of its characters -- not about gadgets or monsters or space opera props. The movie's based on a novel by Stanislas Lem, one of the leading figures of Eastern European science-fiction, and takes place partly on a Soviet space station orbiting the mysterious planet Solaris, and partly in the imaginations and subconscious of the station's crew members.

The planet's surface is covered by a vast ocean that's apparently alive and sentient. And the ocean has the ability to materialize "guests" on the space station: exact duplicates of people remembered by the crew. A psychologist is sent to the station to sort out the situation, and Solaris obligingly presents him with a duplicate of the girl he loved and left, and who committed suicide many years ago. And this is where the movie gets interesting (after a pretty slow start). It concerns itself with matters of love, dignity and our relationship with God. The girl, or "guest," is a truly original science-fiction creation. She isn't one of those aliens in disguise who are out to conquer mankind; in fact, she doesn't fit into any of the standard categories of aliens who take the shape of men. Even though she's manufactured from neutrinos, she is the person she appears to be. And what's a person, anyway?

To complicate things further, the girl has been provided by Solaris with free will and self-knowledge (those two most burdensome gifts from any god), and knows that the person she's "based" on is dead. Now there's a metaphysical double-reverse for you: She's so real she knows she isn't real, and so aware she knows she shouldn't be aware. She forgives the psychologist's original attempt to kill her, and then tries to kill herself because, you see, she's just as much in love with him as her "original" was, and so she's tormented by doubt and inadequacy.

"Solaris" isn't a fast-moving action picture; it's a thoughtful, deep, sensitive movie that uses the freedom of, science-fiction to examine human nature. It starts slow, but once you get involved, it grows on you.

Popular Blog Posts

Different rules apply

White privilege, lived.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Ferguson, Missouri: Third World America vs. Atlas Shrugged

An FFC looks at the horrible situation in Ferguson, MO and what it says about where we are and where we're going.

Retrieving the Grail: Robin Williams and "The Fisher King"

An examination and appreciation of one of Robin Williams' greatest films, "The Fisher King."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus