Stalker - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stalker Reviews

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June 25, 2017
I saw this movie when it first arrived in the States on VHS in 1997. It is expertly crafted, dramatized, and filmed. It is one of the masterpieces of speculative fiction in movie form, by the Russian Kubrick Andrei Tarkovsky. You might want to see this film if you get bored of violence, drugs, and sex. This film is psychologically riveting throughout its duration. It is something for the mind, and would be a really good book, and if that kind of thing is what you like, you're in for a rare treat!
½ June 17, 2017
Debased Art and Science follow God's Fool into Chernobyl seeking out Godot. At least that's what I thought it was until the Fool explained it that way, so it can't be that simple, right? Powerful imagery and brilliant sound design but deadly dull.
May 28, 2017
weird but highly watchable - another bucket list film ticked off
May 24, 2017
No special effects, no scares, no monsters or grotesque imagery...eerie as all hell. Tarkovsky's sci-fi labyrinth is at times staggering, but ultimately fulfilling.
May 11, 2017
The greatest film in Russian history. A guide to the minefield that is the Socialist militarized state.
April 23, 2017
Stalker is a truly unusual film. I have seen it many times. The story never really has a conclusion but I just love the bleak industrial atmosphere of the film. The only think I don't like about it is having to read the subtitles.
April 20, 2017
Andrei Tarkovsky's allegorical sci-fi film Stalker follows three men -- the Writer (Anatoli Solonitsyn), the Professor (Nikolai Grinko) and the Stalker (Aleksandr Kajdanovsky) -- as they travel through a mysterious and forbidden territory in the Russian wilderness called the "Zone." In the Zone objects often change places, the landscape shifts and rearranges itself. It seems almost as if some kind of unknown intelligence is actively preventing any attempt to penetrate its borders. It is said that inside of the Zone is a bunker, and inside the bunker is a magical room which is said to have the power to make wishes come true. The man hired to guide the Writer and the Professor through their journey is a man known as the Stalker who, through repeated visits to the Zone, has become accustomed to its complex traps, pitfalls, and very subtle distortions. Only by following his lead (which often involves taking the longest, most frustrating route) can the Writer and the Scientist make it alive to the bunker and the room. The further they travel into the Zone, the more they realize it may take something more than just determination to succeed: it may actually take faith. Growing more and more unsure of their deepest desires, they confront the room wondering if they can, in the end, take responsibility for the fulfillment of their own wishes.

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
March 17, 2017
In a small, unnamed country there is an area called the Zone. It is apparently inhabited by aliens and contains the Room, wherein it is believed wishes are granted. The government has declared The Zone a no-go area and have sealed off the area with barbed wire and border guards. However, this has not stopped people from attempting to enter the Zone. We follow one such party, made up of a writer, who wants to use the experience as inspiration for his writing, and a professor, who wants to research the Zone for scientific purposes. Their guide is a man to whom the Zone is everything, the Stalker.

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.
February 25, 2017
A fantastically dour existential allegory. If that doesn't bore u to tears, I dunno what will?
½ February 4, 2017
Intriguing futuristic thriller flashes between colour and gritty sepia for visual effect in a journey to 'the zone'- a parallel portal in which strange events occur.
February 2, 2017
A mesmerizing Sci Fi Drama about a site in Russia called the Zone which is the product of a meteorite hit years earlier. The only one skilled enough to navigate through the Zone is the Stalker who leads people to a Room that grants the deepest desires you have.

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.
January 31, 2017
Andrei Tarkovsky's sci-fi masterpiece. A philosophical existential parable visually stunning and mesmerizing.
January 25, 2017
Tarkovsky's work is certainly a case of film as art. To my mind the story/acting are the least memorable part of the work.
½ January 7, 2017
Definitely not for all kinds of audience. A master piece that sinks, slowly, into your own fears, hopes and desires.
½ January 5, 2017
This movie relies heavily on atmosphere, philosophy, and complexity, and viewers who are patient, should be pleased.
Super Reviewer
½ December 23, 2016
It may be a tough sit-through to some as it is not as emotionally engaging as Tarkovsky's magnificent Solaris, but it is hard not to be mesmerized by this stunning metaphysical and philosophical allegory about human desire and search for happiness.
½ December 18, 2016
Moody, beautifully shot but almost as difficult to follow as the book.
December 5, 2016
Intriguing, thought provoking and amazingly well made, Stalker is a slow burn classic that's unlike most films.
September 27, 2016
A beautiful, mesmerising grower. Tarkovsky was an intellect and a movie poet of the highest artistic order. Sublime.
September 22, 2016
I fell asleep twice while first trying to finish Stalker. I gave it another try and after falling asleep only one time, and I was able to finish it. This movie is more than slow, it's borderline ambient cinema (if that's a thing), and now having watched the whole thing I think that was very intentional and effective.

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.
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