Stalker ★★★★★

I don't know what to write about this film. It's so luscious, so serene, yet so grimy. The moments of pure Tarkovskian wonder are surreal: long, nearly silent shots that just envelop us visually and aurally. There's a moment when a train car stops and they're in an open grassy area, and it's utterly silent. One character remarks that it's the quietest place on earth. It is the Zone, utterly devoid of human presence except for those that dare to traverse it and filled with flowing water, waving grass, and the wind. It is as pure a place for the human soul to reckon with what its deepest desires and meanings are, for it is the place in which resides the Room: a place where those desires are rumored to be fulfilled. But Stalker is concerned with the journey. After all, they arrive at the Zone a mere half hour or so into its 160 minute runtime. It gives the film time to consider and to explore these men, men who for some reason or another, decided to traverse here. Stalker is about our own deepest desires, it is about the nature of mankind, it is a religious allegory, a story of war and desolation, and it is also a long, beautiful poem of philosophical words. It is perhaps Tarkovsky's most complex and simplest film. To try to describe what happens here is to rob you of your experience. The Zone is a place you must travel, bringing with you your whole past life. Only you can know what this film means to you. This is a haunting, deeply affecting film. It is a journey you must undertake. My one complaint: it left me aching for something more, a deep desire that I wanted the film to fulfill I cannot describe. I know that sounds utterly pretentious, but it's completely true and I don't think any response to a Tarkovsky film is invalid. The more I think about it, the less I see that as a complaint.

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