Brandon White’s review published on Letterboxd:
So this is my introduction to Andrei Tarkovsky? Oh no… Storytime! So I actually attempted to watch this film for the first time a few months ago, and when I came across the first 40-50 minutes, I just gave up on the film because I fell asleep and just didn’t feel the need to go back to this. So I made an idea to watch it with my girlfriend, and since it was the last day of my 14-day free trial of Criterion Channel, I figured to end it off on this to see if it got better or not. Turns out, it actually got worse for me. It's just not for me.
I will at least understand why Tarkovsky is a famous director because the filmmaking in this is top-notch. How it was framed and filtered was done in such crisp that made it looked like an epic effectively for what it’s trying to present here. The acting is great that everybody had their moments to shine, especially the three actors since the film is relatively about them just… walking around and exploring shit I guess? I don’t really know to be honest. The score was pretty nice to listen to, and the scenery of it looked like something that was like the aftermath of nuclear warfare that the actors were making sure to not be around while also being in a dune of sand in some areas.
Sounds great and everything which makes me understand why people gave it high ratings as it is very dense that has a lot of metaphorical and psychological methods here that can be analyzed, but here’s the problem though. I Just. Don’t. Fucking. Care. The pacing in this was such a fucking struggle to get through that my girlfriend was falling asleep at some points. Once we got to the 2-hour mark, I decided that we take a break from it and watch this the next day because my girlfriend thought it was boring, and I was just getting mad at the film for going through such an endurance test that I feel like it didn’t need to be that long.
Even if I understood what the film was doing, the pacing just ruins it for me personally because it just feels like a slog to get through that when I asked my girlfriend how far we are into this as I thought we were like maybe an hour in, she said that we were 30 minutes in, and that’s when we both knew we aren’t going to give this a positive rating. Did I wish I ended my free trial with something else? Of course, I want that, but at least I’m glad I gave this a watch just so I can say this statement, “I watched Stalker, and I’ll say that Dorbees at least gave me an emotion. And what did this gave me? Nothing. Nothing but the need to sleep.”