November 30th, 2002 | Published in Uncategorized
According to WIRED, there are some unhappy purists in the world thanks to this adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s book. My Lem reading hasn’t included this, and the 1971 Russian adaptation is a distant memory, so there’s no aggrieved squawking from me on this one.
As much as it’s fun to participate in a purist dog-pile now and then, I’m glad I got to enjoy Steven Soderbergh’s version on its own. It’s got a decent performance by George Clooney, who usually plays men of action firmly in control of their environment and does not in this role. It’s pleasingly devoid of sci-fi hardware fixation. The light is clean and white. The sound is muted. The colors and tints are deep and pleasing, reminiscent of both Traffic and The Limey.
Perhaps the dialog clunks at one point, and it’s certainly easy to imagine that Lem’s work didn’t get full consideration, but that doesn’t keep this film from standing on its own. It was a pleasant, satisfying 90 minutes.