Stalker ★★★★

There are a couple things that are becoming increasingly evident as I get deeper into Tarkovsky's films.

Firstly, as stunning as his visual imagery is, he really likes to talk; he puts a lot of work into building a fully contained world then peoples it with ciphers so that he is able to discuss his preoccupations with creation, art, identity and spirituality.

Secondly, everything is slave to a central idea, all of the action, the discussion, the journeying culminates at an intellectual epicentre. This destination has seemingly been the impetus for the film, and is so all-encompassing that it requires the film to be re-evaluated from the beginning - the high-brow equivalent of Heston's discovery of the crumbling Statue of Liberty at the end of Planet of the Apes. I think this is why there is such an urge to re-watch his film as soon as the credits roll.

While each of Tarkovsky's films I've seen thus far has contained both of these elements to some degree, it is in his 1979 sci-fi masterpiece, Stalker that the director has utilised them so confidently.

In Stalker, a seemingly totalitarian world has been affected by a mysterious meteor, which has created The Zone, an area where the normal laws of physics do not apply. At the centre of The Zone is a room that will grant anyone who enters it their innermost desire. Seeking this room, a professor and a writer enlist the help of the stalker to guide them through the perils of The Zone.

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