Stalker ★★★★

"When a man thinks of the past, he becomes kinder."

This line is just one of infinite wisdoms found in Stalker, a stunning, profound, and dense film about faith, hope, desire, nature, man, and so much more than is possible for one person to pick up on after only one intriguing viewing.

Stalker is a beautiful film. It is visually stunning, both in the lush, tangible, natural settings of The Zone and in the foggy, harsh reality of the outside world. The way that characters disappear into the fog in the sepia-toned outside world makes this place seem more dangerous, unpredictable, and foreboding than The Zone, a mysterious place where unknown dangers supposedly abound. Every building, stone structure, and location feels isolated, abandoned, and dilapidated, while still feeling vibrant and engaging to all senses. The cinematography captures the beauty of the natural world in a way that few films or filmmakers are capable of.

Not a single shot went by that I wasn't fully absorbed into or contemplating its intellectual meaning. The camera lingers constantly on characters. Even when they are doing nothing, there is so much depth and feeling to every shot. They are framed so specifically and intentionally by Andrei Tarkovsky and his cinematographer. Characters move in and out of frame, but the camera's meticulous, calculated movements always stay focused on something important.

The philosophical and intellectual ideas that are presented are simply too abundant to dissect and understand after a single viewing. The three main characters, and a few side characters as well, all bring a unique perspective and depth to the story. The screenplay does an excellent job at presenting countless thought-provoking ideas, themes, and messages from every single character in a way that is just as immersive as the lived-in visual beauty of the film.

This film is so overwhelming and intellectually stimulating that I'll be writing a spoiler review of Stalker just to further express my thoughts on one of the most impactful films I've seen in a long time.

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