Stalker ★★★★½

Opaquely enigmatical. Explains little, yet continually hints at the profound.

Its vision of nature is most beautiful when it's shown to be overgrowing and reclaiming man-made decrepitude. I found myself mesmerized by the slag, stalagmites, filthy, dripping water, dunes of debris and decaying nuclear stacks, scarily prophetic of Chernobyl. Andrei Tarkovsky blends and transmogrifies his three travelers within these decomposing wastelands, even making landscapes out of the back of men's heads.

Much has been written about how Alex Garland's Annhilhation borrows wholesale from this world cinema juggernaut, but what about the opening of Mamoru Oshii's Avalon, with its similarly sepia-toned, lonely dystopia, and an alternate reality beyond monochrome that promises relief, knowledge, eternal youth (instead of a person's deepest desire) and transcendence of the existentially meaningless reality the heroine finds herself living alone in with nothing but virtual reality gaming and her Basset hound for companionship? In Stalker also, a stray dog serves as the only concrete proof that a trio's journey into metaphysical trauma of the Zone, a space which defies all reason, logic and laws of physics and is cordoned off to civilians by the government, actually took place.

A bad dream I'll want to keep returning to, to try and unlock its seemingly infinite mysteries.

Timothy liked this review