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Solaris

movie reviewmovie review out of 4


*Also starring: Jeremy Davies, Viola Davis, Ulrich Tuker



Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

How do you spell self-indulgent? SOLARIS, Steven Soderbergh's second film this year following his unwatchable FULL FRONTAL, is a mind trip that has some undeniably intriguing parts. But its few nuggets come by at a glacial speed. Why Soderbergh expects viewers to spend almost ten dollars a ticket to see these failed artistic experiments of his is the real mystery.

Based on Stanislaw Lem's novel, SOLARIS is set in a troubled space station that Chris Kelvin has been asked to undertake a one man mission to save. In a badly miscast movie, Kelvin is played by George Clooney who displays a range of emotions that runs from roughly A to B.

Once Kelvin gets on board, he is greeted by Snow (Jeremy Davies), a nerd whose brain appears to be on another planet. With exotic and capricious hand gestures, Davies turns Snow into the story's Jar Jar Binks.

While visiting the doomed vessel, Kelvin reunites with someone or something that may or may not be his dead wife, Rheya. Natascha McElhone (FEARDOTCOM) plays Rheya with big smiles and little more. The film keeps cutting back to Kelvin and Rheya's times together on earth. The sequences on terra firma are as inert as the sequences set in outer space. The movie's few questions are too easily answered, that is if you can stay awake, which is hard.

I always try to find something to enjoy in any picture. For me, the redeeming feature this time was McElhone's face, with her gorgeous lips, golf ball-sized eyes and creamy skin. Others may enjoy Clooney's handsome derriere, which is shown in the buff in several scenes. I wish that the list were longer, but that's it.

SOLARIS runs 1:35. It is rated PG-13 for "sexuality/nudity, brief language and thematic elements" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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