Starring: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Viola Davis and Jeremy Davies
20th Century Fox
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available now

Dr. Chris Kelvin is asked to investigate the unexplained behaviour of key scientists on the space station Prometheus and to discover why they have cut off all communication with Earth. Kelvin is shocked by what he finds upon his arrival. Gibarian, the missions commander, has committed suicide and the two remaining scientists are exhibiting signs of extreme stress and terror, seemingly caused by the results of their examination of the planet Solaris. As he begins to track down the reasons for the distress aboard the Prometheus, Kelvin, too, falls victim to the unique world's mysteries, as well as an erotic obsession with someone he thought he left behind...

Unforgivably mis-sold to the American market as a sci-fi love story, Solaris didn't fare too well States side. Written for the screen, directed, photographed and edited by Steven Soderbergh, Solaris is a new adaptation of the eponymous classic science-fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem. The book was first filmed in 1972 as a Russian production directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Soderbergh's interpretation of the novel differs greatly from Tarkovsky's vision.

Solaris is, "joined up" thinking for the sci-fi genre. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one has, at one time or another, wished that they could bring them back again. And this movie ask whether it is more painful to regain the thing you've lost than to have lost it in the first place.

More a psychological thriller than a sci-fi love story, Solaris is a world apart from Soderbergh's recent work (Ocean's 11 and Erin Brockovich) but that is not a complaint. It's refreshing to see directors break away and not stick with the one genre.

This movie is thought provoking, intelligent and visually beautiful but the majority of today's action hungry audiences may find it a little too slow moving to hold their attention.

Extras on the disc include an 18 minute documentary (Solaris: Behind the Planet) that looks at every aspect of the making of the movie; 13 minute HBO special that, again examines the background to the movie; and an audio commentary by Steven Soderbergh and James Cameron.

Pete Boomer

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