Stalker - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stalker Reviews

Page 2 of 77
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.
½ September 15, 2016
Not one frame is redeeming, interesting, or entertaining.

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.
September 15, 2016
A film with meaning as hard to grasp for the audience as it is for the character's. It starts slow, and I found that really vexing, but it closes out with some of the sincerest emotion one will see in any movie. I now understand why so many fans of this film call it life changing.
August 30, 2016
There is something very special about Tarkovsky's work. In his movies, he would tell very simple, yet grand stories. His storytelling is reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick in a way. However, I will argue that he is the Russian Kubrick. Before I start this review, I should inform you that this film is not for everyone because it has a very slow pacing with talk heavy dialogue. If you do not like movies of this type, turn away now because this will not be the movie for you. However, if you like movies that have a deeper and complex meaning behind them then you will most likely enjoy this.

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.
August 8, 2016
Interesting twist on the sci-fi genre focusing on internal obstacles of the human mind rather than ambiguous questions of society. A take on the wants and needs, the dreams and ambitions we all have with consequences in our lives, done with brilliant cinematography and very low budget, proving that the genre itself is much more engaging when related to existential philosophy than with cgi spectacles.
February 7, 2016
Complex, a tough sit-through for most, makes you think a lot throughout and after the film. Every shot is like a painting. Definitely a good film to talk about with other people that have seen it.
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