Stalker (1979) - Tarkovsky - Review
I don't pay much attention to movie suggestions from my sister. True story. I will though make the courteous effort search to see what the hell it is. The least you can do. Thats actually how I came across Stalker (1979)
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, the film is set in a an unnamed country in the future, where a stalker guides a writer and professor through a restricted area known as The Zone where a certain room in a building is rumored to grant visitors their innermost wishes the catch been they must be able to articulate it.
I was immediately drawn in by the trailer as well as the plot. But with a running time of 2 hours 43 minutes, it was a real test to sit through, especially given the fact that I was watched it over a three days after coming back from squash matches.
The story is has quite a few scifi elements, the zone, where it came from and the mystery that surrounds it make for a good story. Tarkovsky though steers away from a straight forward narrative as well as the original source work by the Strugatsky brothers’ novel “Roadside Picnic”
I really liked the cinematography and the attention to detail that Tarkovsky gives in several shots in the film, which are often long takes, where while not much is happening it lets a viewer to dive in the world so they can feel and experience the setting. While the setting it in the world where they begin the journey is dark, bleek and rusting, as soon as they arrive in the Zone, you can see the world in full colour, the lush vegetation that has taken over an area once populated. It is easy to see the contrast where the room and the Zone signify hope and promise for its visitors.
This movie can easily be slotted in the art house category. The unconventional way that Tarkovsky has written and shot the movie is definitely not for everyone's taste. But those are exactly the things that make the movie stand out. The themes and ideas that he touches upon within the plot line are ones that you think about long after the movie. That right there to me is what makes movies stand out, when they make you question and think long after it ends.
In my opinion the Zone seems to be a metaphor for a nuclear distaster area, the stalker himself looks as if he is sick with radiation poisoning, and the reveal of the nuclear plant right next to the bar. His withering material existence contrasts with how he is more spiritual than the writer and the professor.
Definitely check this one out as well as Tarkovsky's other films. I will be watching Solaris next.