STARRING: Natalya Bondarchuk, Yuri
Yarvet, Donatas Banionis, Anatoly Solonitsin, Vladislav
Dvorjetzki, Nikolai Grinko, Sos Sarkissian
1972, 165 Minutes, Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky
begin with a review of Solaris?
Um, if you were driven to
distraction by the slow pace of 2001: A
Space Odyssey, then
youll be well advised to stay clear of this film. Solaris
may not have an opening shot that is nearly ten minutes long
Sacrifice) but it
comes pretty close to it. Or at least it feels that way. It is at
times infuriatingly slow. So if your taste in movies tends
towards the lets blow everything up to the accompaniment of
a loud soundtrack like in Independence
dont even bother with Solaris. Now that weve
got that out of the way, lets get on with the review.
youre however a more patient type, then Solaris is
the sort of film that gets better as it progresses and once
youre into it can be very rewarding in the end.
comparison to this film and 2001 isnt redundant: the
two films are very alike in many aspects. In fact, Solaris
directed by Andrei (The Sacrifice) Tarkovsky has often
been called the Russian version of 2001. Besides both
being slow paced their production design and special effects are
somewhat similar. Both films are also based on the works of
sci-fi writers: Solaris is based on a 1961 (English translation, 1970) novel by Polish writer
Stanislaw Lem. Both films have a basic philosophy at their centre
albeit not exactly the same one.
where Kubrick dazzles us with camera tricks and special effects
wizardry (which were quite remarkable for its time), Solaris
is a typical European film. Or make that rather Tarkovsky film. "Slow-moving, sumptuously textured canvas with a richly
emotional climax," is how one critic once described his
works. I couldnt have put it any better, and Solaris
is no different.
plot involves a psychologist who is sent to investigate strange
going-ons and several deaths at a space station orbiting a
distant planet. It would seem that the worlds ocean is a
living and thinking entity, able to project the people in the
space-stations dreams into reality. Upon arrival he is
confronted by his wife who has committed suicide ten years ago .
Sounds familiar? The basic
concept has been done before in Forbidden
Planet and more
steal some elements from it. But
Event Horizon is the direct ideological opposite of Solaris.
Whereas everything happens in Event Horizon, practically
nothing happens in Solaris. But the truth is that Id
rather be watching Solaris any time of the day when
something did happen, it made me jump in my seat and sent
shivers down my back. A feat Event Horizon was simply
unable to accomplish . . .
Note: Remade as a shorter movie that
somehow felt longer (also titled Solaris) in 2002
by American director
which starred George Clooney's naked butt.
Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick: Dubbed the "slowest movie . . . ever!" by some, this 165 minutes long 1972 movie
by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky will reward those not suffering from attention
deficit syndrome. Or put it another way: if you loved 2001
then the chances are very good that you will also like this . . .
Top 100 Sci-Fi
of all time