This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Max’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
In Stalker, we are never shown definitive proof that anything within The Zone is otherworldly or dangerous, as it is often described, despite Stalker's repeated warnings that deathtraps are hidden all around. The change in color is perhaps the only indication that anything is different within The Zone from the outside world. No one is ever shown entering The Room or having their deepest wish fulfilled. Everything that happens on screen in The Zone is plausible and doesn't seem out of the ordinary. Stalker is a magical film about faith because it causes viewers to unequivocally believe everything the Stalker, our guide through this film, tells us whether we live our life with or without faith of our own.
Until the final shot. The final shot of the daughter using her mind to magically move the glasses across the table is the only proof we are given that The Zone possesses otherworldly powers. Stalker has clearly been exposed to The Zone's radiation, so it only makes sense that he would pass something bad onto his offspring, such as a deformity of some sort. But when Stalker's daughter turns out to possess miraculous powers, it puts everything that precedes it into perspective. The faith that Tarkovsky has given viewers in The Zone and in The Room pays off in the end. Our nearly 3-hour investment becomes a rewarding experience, and ultimately a satisfactory one, as we witness a literal miracle occur before our eyes. And yet, as uplifting and beautiful as this should sound, the final scene is filmed with a feeling of unusual hopelessness and sorrow. It is with this enigma that Tarkovsky ends Stalker.