Kenji Fujishima’s review published on Letterboxd:
Andrei Tarkovsky's dark night of the soul, configured as a sci-fi quest across an industrial wasteland that doubles as a spiritual journey. Under Tarkovsky's meditative direction, The Zone becomes more than just a fantastical landscape where the laws of physics don't apply, but an allegorical expression of...well, life, really.
With its landscapes popping out of nowhere and its grimy passageways, the Zone becomes a symbolic representation of life's infinite possibilities and the often agonizingly circuitous paths one often needs to take in order to get to whatever destination, physical and/or mental, they so desire. But what if the seekers on this journey don’t exactly know what that destination is? What if they think they know what they want, but in fact want something more than what they’re willing to admit to themselves? Or what if they have a destination in mind but find themselves frustratingly stuck as to how to get there? Sure, it's great to have a guide to shine a light on a particular path, but ultimately it's up to the seeker him-/herself as to whether he/she is willing to go down that path or not.
None of the seekers in Stalker ever actually enter into the Room. But then, does anyone? Perhaps one enters what one thinks is a Room, but then realizes either that that wasn't the Room one was looking for, or that one can only stay in that Room for so long until one desires another Room. And yet, that hardly means there should be absolutely no Room whatsoever. Life may be difficult at times, and it may well lead us to profound existential despair, but in the end, we all need a destination of some sort to keep us going through it all. Awareness is already half the battle.
Hope springs eternal...or, in the case of Tarkovsky's masterpiece, in a psychokinetic miracle and a cyclical passing train heard in the distance.