nB: my point is, it stands in greatness in philosophy, and some other deep topics, but is way too hard to grasp. But maybe that's okay. In that case it's meant for the aspiring nutjobs only; or people who are really associative, perceptive, art fanatics, oh yes and I did I say really witty and intelligent?
Tarkovsky is worry about we all, we came down for a reason, but we lost it...
This movie is a poem!
Stalker is a two and half hour film divided into two parts. When the first part ended I never felt so patient in all my life, but at the same time I couldn't wait to see what happens -- or what doesn't happen -- next. A movie like this you can't just pause, go take a nap, then expect your mood to pick up where you left off. A musical intermission would have been nice.
So the first half is brilliant. It starts with everything tinted to look like the oldest photograph you've ever seen that's been crumbled up into a ball, flattened out lazily, then smothered in ash. Everything looks decayed and crumbling; industrial and dystopian. Even the plants look like they're made of concrete. There's a scene where a man is near what I think was a clover bush. The clovers blend in with the metallic background in a way that you don't even notice the flowers at first, then when you do it's quite the striking observation.
Soon three men leave the city to find a room that grants wishes. One of the men is a guide and he's been there before. When they leave the city the film becomes colorized. I've never seen that happen in a film before. Very sobering and soothingly refreshing, like a weight has been lift off your shoulders and a veil taken from your eyes. Now the film takes on a more organic feel as we see discarded machines and scrap metal parts scattered around everywhere, and swallowed up by the vegetation. The contrast between the two artist visions is wonderful. Yin and yang. The while experience is like achieving a mild state of zen. The film slows down even more to the point that the men almost go to sleep. After a dream-like transition of images part one ends.
Part two, from my experience, was a completely different film. The journey ends and the men hang out in an old building that looks like a WWII relic. There are a few impressive shots, but not many. Most of the time it's a close up of someone's face. Very boring and anti-climatic. They pretty much just drop the plot up to that point and decide to go in a nonsensical direction because of its philosophical significance.
I tried to keep myself interested but after an hour into part two it was really wearing on my nerves. It's the dialogue that mostly bothered me. Part one was perfect. It was like being at a poetry reading in an art museum. The movie would be quiet with breathtaking images, then the attention would shift from the visual to the men talking. So five minutes of sight and the physical, then five minutes of sound and the mental. Brilliant. This pattern made it so you never got tired of the movie. The dialogue itself, for the most part, is inconsequential. Most of it isn't even that deep, it's just that it sounds so poetic and dramatic. Pretentious, but tolerable. The movie is visual ambiance and psychologically meditative. You could melt your brain trying to ponder all the ideas floating around, or you could just let the movie wash over you. Just experience it. With part one it doesn't even matter if you miss some of the subtitles because the purpose of the film isn't to turn you into a philosopher. Or at least that's what I thought.
But part two I found contrary to part one. Part two is just one long, seemingly endless dialogue about everything and nothing. I don't know and I didn't really care at that point. I think it was about some kind of godhood, or finding God, or just transcendence in general. I think the kid at the end had the power that was in the room. Maybe there is no coherent narrative. It's a head scratcher, that's for sure. It's got a high rating so maybe the point of the movie just flew over my head. I'll give the it the benefit of a doubt and give it four stars. Part one deserves that much anyway. It would get 5 if it had more consistency.
Saw this on 1/4/15
Glacially slow and nothing pretty much happens resulting in an uninvolving, boring film. The camera work is good, but the story is too bad and it lags a lot. A complete waste of my 2hrs and 45 minutes.
After watching this film, I understand Tarkovsky is probably most in the place of the 'Stalker' character, who is most sympathetic, but still, after 4 films from Tarkovsky I have to wonder if we just philosophically part ways when it comes to approaching the existential problems. 'Hope' and 'prayer' are not the answer, but neither is the bleak, nihilistic, self-absorbed end of the rest of the characters. This film garners my respect, curiosity, and possibly admiration in an aesthetic or conceptual sense, but it does not grab my heart, mind, or soul.