Kirai’s review published on Letterboxd:
I really, really wanted and tried to enjoy this film. But, I once again had the same issue as with Stalker - wasn't able to fully grasp most of the deeper meanings and abstractions in it, and given that they are both profoundly emotional and philosophical films, I couldn't connect with them. This time, more than just metaphors and hidden meanings went over my head because I couldn't follow the narrative nor most of the characters. If I hadn't read a review saying the film was told non-linearly, I honestly might have not even noticed.
Tarkovsky's directing style also doesn't seem to sit well with me. I don't mind slow films, but watching some of the extremely long and slow scenes almost felt like a chore at times. I hate critic buzzwords such as "pretentious" and "style over substance" etc., so I'm not going to call this or Stalker pretentious, and I understand Tarkovsky's idea of trying to fully immerse the viewer in the film and make one think with very long quiet/still shots, but at one point the entertainment value is simply brought down too much, no matter how immensely deep and poetic the films are, and it takes away from the experience.
I enjoyed the intensely emotional ending very much, even though I probably didn't understand some parts of it. Still, I'm only rating this 4 stars because it's an extremely praised film that seems to resonate with other people much, much more than with me. And I can't accurately rate something that I didn't thoroughly grasp. My watching experience certainly wasn't a 4/5 one. Maybe I'll come back to this film in 15 years when I'm nostalgic about my childhood and enjoy/understand it then. But for now, Tarkovsky's films are not getting to me, at all.