Solaris, directed by Andrey Tarkovskiy, is a science fiction drama released in 1972. Not to be confused with the remake of the same title starring George Clooney. Solaris is visually beautiful and is the prime example of Russian cinema. It is arguably the best Soviet film ever made. Solaris, although of the sci-fi genre, is extremely realistic in its portrayal of the human psyche and our struggle to comprehend our place in the universe. Solaris stars Donatas Banionis as Kris Kelvin, a psychologist, Juri Jarvet as Dr. Snaut, and Vladislav Dvorzhetskiy as Henri Berton.
Solaris is a distant planet that hosts what is believed to be intelligent life. However, the details of the planet are vague and for the most part kept secret. After numerous years, there has been little to no progress in the research or understanding of the planet. To make matters worse, there have been disappearances and deaths to some of the crew. Contact made with the Solaris base or with any of the returning crew proves futile, as it appears they have become mentally unbalanced. Kelvin (Banionis) is sent to Solaris to uncover the truth and report back on whether or not the project is worth continuing, What happens when Kelvin arrives is unforeseen and disturbing.
Solaris is not for the faint hearted or the lazy. Be prepared to bring your brain for this one. Solaris is an extremely intelligent, highly visual thrill ride that will keep you questioning reality and our existence. Exquisite performances by the entire cast keep this cosmic experience grounded and believable. On top of challenging the audience through intellect, Solaris will pull on your heartstrings and disturb you to your bones. Tarkovskiy has created a masterpiece that should be viewed by all, film lover or not. Power through the subtitles and pay close attention to the visuals, if you blink, you’ll miss something brilliantly significant.
Solaris: 8 out of 10.