David Wang’s review published on Letterboxd:
Beyond its perils,
Stalker leads, confronts the Zone
A presence, so dark
Stalker: “The Zone demands respect, otherwise it’ll punish you.”
And yet, with or without respect for its inhabitants, the Zone does punish the people of the world it surrounds. Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 science fiction film, Stalker is a grand voyage into a fully-realized world replete with a cast of weary characters, mesmerizing landscapes, brutalist architecture and interiors, and ominous cinematography. The film brings the protagonist, simply known as Stalker, as he guides the Writer and Professor deep into the perilous realm known as the Zone. Deep within numerous traps, dangers in the wilderness, and enigmatic catacombs there lies the Room. Those who make it to the Room see their deepest desires granted.
The Zone represents a foreign presence though implied to be of extraterrestrial influence. The wilderness here carries an appearance that is both familiar and alien in the decay of mankind’s presence and nature’s prevalence. The Room deep within the Zone grants the visitor their secret desires. Yet the wishes of the visitor may not reflect what is really desired deep within their hearts. Thus the dangers of the Room become all the more apparent especially to certain people who see the gifts bestowed as a danger to mankind.
In the end, the Stalker leads his party through the Zone and to the Room but neither the Writer nor the Professor chooses to enter for fear of what their personal desires could be realized. Although they return safely, the Stalker is constantly haunted by the presence of the Zone. Whatever foreign anomaly is present in the Zone, it is evident that it has creeped out to affect the lives and future generations of its nearby inhabitants. The final scene features the Stalker’s daughter using telekinetic powers which implies that the effects of the Zone have been far-reaching beyond its comprehended boundaries.