“The Zone wants to be respected — otherwise it will punish.”
A taciturn guide (Aleksandr Kajdanovsky) known as “Stalker” leads a writer (Anatoli Solonitsyn) and a scientist (Nikolai Grinko) across police barriers into the mysterious, dangerous, forbidden Zone, where it is said one’s deepest wishes can be granted.
Andrei Tarkvosky’s cerebral, visually evocative films are not for all tastes, but fans embrace them as indispensable cult favorites. In Stalker, Tarvosky tells the enigmatic story of a paid guide who accompanies willing visitors across guarded state lines into a mysterious place known as “the Zone”. Some believe the Zone to be an allegorical representation of Soviet nuclear fallout and government secrecy, but it’s entirely possible to watch Stalker without concerning oneself about political undertones. Like Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972), Stalker requires patience to sit through, and a willingness to transcend normal narrative pacing; but if you stick with it, chances are you’ll be moved in some way by this thought-provoking film, which is only marred by its confusing and unsatisfying ending.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A challenging, highly original premise for a science fiction film
- Haunting cinematography
- Many astonishing images
- Fine performances — particularly by Aleksandr Kajdanovsky as the Stalker
- Eduard Artemyev’s effective score
Yes. This “intellectual” cult favorite is a modern masterpiece of Russian cinema.