Stalker moves cautiously and slowly through as the three men move closer to the metaphorical heart of the Zone. Stalker is filled with powerful images that include telephone poles that look as if they are coming out of the ground like crosses, religious icons beneath muddy rivers covered with bullet shells, and most famously a miraculous, artificial desert in an underground room. It is almost entirely shot in extremely long takes where the three characters mostly just talk. It's almost hard to believe a movie can have only 142 shots in 163 minutes with most of them averaging about 1 minute and some lasting more than 4 minutes. But even though it is mainly just these three men talking, the imagery is amazing to look at and the cinematography is fantastic. The way it uses two different looks through out is something I hadn't seen before, at least not like this. Almost all the shots that take place outside the Zone are in a high contrast brown monochrome (sepia) tone and all the shots within the Zone are in color. Everything is in sepia color until around the 37th minute where when they enter the Zone it switches to color. Stalker is also great for not relying on any kind of gimmick or special effect to create its fantastic atmosphere of another world bordering our own.
Like all of Tarkovsky's films Stalker is very slow paced. Arguably the most slow paced of all his films and slower than even Kubrick's space epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. I highly suggest having patience with this film and watching it at least two times. You will definitely gain a lot more on the second viewing. It is a great film about keeping faith that is filled with many images that are as stunning as some of the best work by Kubrick or Bergman. One of the greatest films ever made. 10/10
Superb, profound, thought-provoking movie by famed Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. If ever you needed an example of how cinema is more than simply entertainment but is art, holding the mirror up to nature, this is it.
The movie starts as a science-fiction adventure, and a very intriguing and engaging one. While Tarkovsky develops the plot slowly, it is never dull. In fact, the slowness ramps up the suspense. It also gives you time to admire Tarkovsky's excellent camera work. Every shot is perfectly chosen and captured, resulting in the movie seeming more like a series of paintings than a film. This, despite the simple, basic production quality and the dearth of remastered copies (the version I watched was in 240p!).
As the movie progresses it moves from being plot-driven to something much more metaphoric and ends up covering a multitude of macro-level societal issues.
Most prominent, and important, is a debate around science vs art vs religion, each represented by the three protagonists. Tarkovsky doesn't take sides, but gives every faction a chance to state their case. What you end up with is a reasonable explanation for each side's value in society, and why there is friction between the three.
This all said, the initial instinct with this movie may be one of disappointment. There is no great resolution in the end, either to the mysteries of the Zone or the debates between the three lead characters. For those expecting closure and a neat tying up of the plot, this is likely to be a let-down.
However, if you think about it, this is perfect. Tarkovsky retains his neutral stance and leaves it to the viewer to think things through. More than anything, he is not providing solutions, or a "winner", but making you think about the issues, and life in general.
The strength of the film isn't the look & feel of the Zone but it's the psychological journey the guests & Stalker go on.
Filled with terrific visuals this truly is a unique vision & incredibly thought provoking. There is a lot in this film & it requires multiple viewings.
Stalker is about a place that exists outside of the real world, both literally when talking about the Zone in the film, but also in the sense that real truth is something that seems endlessly out of reach. The film is more of a meditation on that theme than anything else, and it's pacing and sound design lend to that meditation extremely well.
It is depressing how supercilious each shot is, always lingering far longer than it should, and it is far more depressing how serious each actor is taking his/her role. I never thought I'd find it, but I think I found the worst movie I've ever seen. Not The Room, not Birdemic, not any movie in the Twilight series... this. The movie must have been created just for the purpose of the director, because it is terrible. Bar none awful. It might as well have been random scenery being filmed with voice-overs of the actors posing the same banal questions, and that might've been better. Truly, the "abstract art" of the film industry, in that it is posing as a masterpiece when in actuality it is dog shit.
A man known as the "Stalker" leads 2 men, a writer and a professor, through a mysterious area known as the "Zone" so they can find a room which supposedly grants wishes. The Stalker is the hired guide because since he has walked through the "Zone" multiple times, he knows how to lead them safely through its complex traps, pitfalls, and sudden distortions. The Writer says that his reason for going through it is that he fears losing his inspiration. The Professor says that his reason for going through it is that he hopes to win the Nobel Pease Prize. The 3 set out and start to walk through the "Zone".
Although it was slow at times, I never felt that I was wasting my time with this movie because of the stunning ideas that it expresses. This movie is a story of immense consequences. It is also made more compelling by how the characters constantly have arguments with each other. You can interpret this film in multiple ways and there are many ways one could view this film. While the film mainly focused on the meaning of life and both knowing and feeling too much, it was quite obvious at times that some of the dialogue in the movie were thoughts of Tarkovsky himself. At some points in the movie, it would talk about the 'unselfishness' of art and the shallowness of technology which claimed it to be no more than an 'artificial limb'.
This movie is made even better by the unforgettable imagery in it. In the countryside scenes in the "Zone", the film is in color. When the film is outside the "Zone" and inside the tunnels and other inside areas inside the room, it is in sepia footage. This brilliant color scheme makes for some very impressive moments. I always like it when films have beautiful cinematography because even when you get bored by a slow pacing, you will be impressed by the unforgettable images they have.
I've seen many theories on this film and there are some that I agree on and some that I disagree on. For example, I've seen some people say that it is unknown whether or not "The Room" had any powers to begin with. I disagree with this because the movie made it clear that it did have powers. The movie explained that soldiers were sent into "The Zone" and they all went missing. Also, it showed soldiers surrounding the place preventing anyone from going inside it. The soldiers wouldn't be there if the place had no powers. Also, it is made more clear that this is true by the final few minutes which evoke a sense of surrealism.
In conclusion, this ranks up there with other Russian and Soviet films. It has a very simple, yet grand story. It has stunning ideas in it which will leave you puzzled, but interested in learning about them for years. At first, I was bothered by its slow-pacing, but I got used to it. I will repeat one more time that if you don't like slow pacing and talk-heavy dialogue then you won't enjoy this film (In fact, I'm pretty sure that most people will be very confused on their first viewing if they barely know anything about the plot. I actually had to check Wikipedia a few times to make sure I was understanding everything). However, if you like slow pacing then you will likely find this to be one of the deepest movies made in years.