memento_mori's Movie Review of Stalker

Rating of


Arm yourself with wisdom.
memento_mori - wrote on 12/17/13

To have seen the film Stalker is to have learned something new about life.

I have seen many films in my life, but I don't think I've seen a film quite like what people consider Andrei Tarkovsky's finest feature, Stalker.
It's more of a journey than a motion picture. It takes you places you would never have expected it to take you, because the man behind what you are seeing orchestrates one of the greatest messages you may ever witness. By choosing to show or not show something, Tarkovsky creates something none of us may ever completely comprehend.

To analyze this film would be way too difficult, because it is without a doubt the most complicated film I have ever seen. Not in the technical sense where all logical pieces combine eventually, like in Memento, but in the fact that this screenplay is so full of poetry and personal, psychological, sometimes mad writing, that it becomes impossible to analyze. All we can do is attempt at understanding it.

And to help understand it, I thought of its environment as a parallel universe. I thought of three things to define the place where the characters and even society in general is at in the film: inspiration, power and desperation.

The acting is fantastic. The director gives us insanely long takes to often witness the emotion-filled or emotionless faces of our characters. That's another thing you may want to remember: Time is paramount in this story. And the film surely does take its time.

The direction is something new entirely. It practically explores the depths of the medium of film, almost changing the way a simple story is told. The way every shot, every line of dialogue and every echo of a footstep is filmed is viable. Important. I personally think the scene where all the men are sleeping in the nature of the Zone is the best. The sudden returns to the sepia-colored monochrome tone from the beginning of the film are simply genius.

I have never seen a film more devoted to display the shattered psyche of a human.
It means to tell us that humans are vile creatures, who pick favorites, disobey rules, who are way too curious and proud.

The way I view it, it's a simple, yet thoughtful retelling of God (Porcupine) creating the earth (the Zone) for reasons unknown. He sends his son (Porcupine's brother) to die for our sins, for redemption (the traps of the Zone) to be truly righteous.
And in this case, the Stalker is his advocate, who guides the uninspired, the powerless and the desperate on a path somewhere between heaven and hell.

And just like that, Tarkovsky shows us the path to inspiration, power and desperation.
One long footstep at a time.

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