Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky – 1979) A

It’s funny writing about Stalker soon after writing about A Ghost Story. Tarkovsky would’ve made a movie like A Ghost Story I think if he wanted to make a movie about a ghost haunting. Stalker is billed as a scifi movie about a specific area in some unnamed place called the Zone. It appeared and within it lies danger but also there is a room that supposedly grants your heart’s desire if you make it in there and out. Stalkers are those who take people there. It’s a dangerous adventure since the military has the area cordoned off and is under armed guard. The film centers around three characters labeled Stalker, Professor and Writer. Professor and Writer enlist Stalker to take them to the Zone. Writer wants to gain inspiration, professor wants career success…There is no mincing words when it comes to Tarkovsky’s work. IT…IS…SLOW. Similar to Solaris, he uses science fiction as a device to explore deeply human stories, not action set pieces. He takes his time with long and extended shots until you are either on board for the ride and sucked in or you are out.

The three characters mostly walk, talk and argue. We are along for the ride and listen in as the film changes from sepia/black and white to full color when they are in the Zone in a lovely crazy long shot. It is beautifully shot film where each scene is controlled and constructed with amazing care. It is said that this was a very difficult film to shoot and you can see that throughout. For those with patience and maybe a Bourbon in hand this is a rewarding experience.

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