Wesley R. Ball’s review published on Letterboxd:
After a weekend of Kung fu, action, comedy, and adventure, perhaps this wasn't quite the best film to ease me back into watching art house movies. It's incredibly dense, filled with a deep story, morals, and some of the most gorgeous cinematography I've ever seen.
The story crawls at an incredibly slow pace, but the Zone itself is what kept me so involved in the film. The three main characters who venture into The Zone each have their own goals and motivations, although one claims not to have any inner desire to receive a wish from The Room, since his only task is to escort the other two there to safety. As they progress through The Zone, increasingly dangerous traps and tricks are deployed by the ever-changing Zone, proving their goal more difficult to achieve than they thought at first. It's almost like a foreign art house version of Cube, if you think about it.
I loved Tarkovsky's beautiful use of color saturation in different scenes. Most of the scenes outside the Zone seemed to be devoid of color, causing a brownish coat across the picture. It depicts the dull, unsatisfied feeling that the main characters have, and emphasizes their desire to reach the fabled Zone. After they enter, the picture becomes more colorful, with our three heroes becoming ever closer to their ultimate goal. The Zone itself contained many strange, twisted areas that gave the film its sci-fi tone. Not only the traps, but the very composition of the Zone itself was intricate to observe throughout the film.
Split into two parts, Stalker has a fairly long run time. But each and every second of that time counts, and never once failed to keep me drawn into its Intricate story. The characters all had interestingly unique characteristics and motivations that kept me begging for more, and I would dare say that the film's ending is one of the best in the history of cinema.
The only other Tarkovsky film I have seen is Solaris- which I absolutely loved. After this, I am looking forward to delving into the rest of his filmography. He has a gorgeous artistic touch in his films- one that is rarely seen in any given director. This has undoubtedly become my favorite of his, and I believe it will be difficult to find a film to top it. It is simply his masterpiece.