Joseph W.’s review published on Letterboxd:
The first Tarkovsky movie I have seen, Stalker is deeply poetic and so profound I won’t pretend like I fully understand it all on the first view. Even so, it is an incredible accomplishment and an artistic masterpiece.
At 162 minutes, and being heavily conversation focused, I was amazed by how swift Stalker felt. It is not a fast paced movie by any means, but it is so immersive and thought provoking that it did not feel long at all. The performances are moving and the dialogue is intensely poetic.
The setting, scenery, and cinematography are all stunning, but not in the way I expected. This is a science fiction movie that remains visually grounded in reality. There are no noticeable special effects, no distorting visuals, just a gorgeously lush and foggy landscape. Part of the genius that is Stalker is that the Zone doesn’t have the look of the supernatural, but that atmosphere is brilliantly achieved through the camera work and storytelling.
The only reason I can’t appropriately give it 5 stars is that it requires so much more thought and interpretation than I could manage on a first view, but I will absolutely be rewatching Stalker again in the near future. It deserves your full attention.