Sean Burdett’s review published on Letterboxd:
Stalker is a movie about a man(stalker) leading two people into "The Zone" in order to fulfill their deepest desire, and is, without a doubt in my mind, one of the best movies ever made. This was one of the most unique experiences I've ever had in cinema and I loved every second of it.
It's hard to think about where to start with this film, but the best I can do is with the two worlds. Tarkovsky here created two distinct worlds here, one with faith and one without. These two worlds are both immaculately created. The real world(or the one without faith) is portrayed so well as being bleak and sad. He uses the bland color palette here to show that there is nothing of value in a world without faith. This is in stark contrast to the zone.
The Zone is one of the best environments I have seen put to screen. Everything about it is both so foreign and beautiful. Even the most disgusting things here leave the most memorable imagery in my mind. From the image of the tanks to the dirt on the water, I will likely never forget the imagery that was shown here.
The way that this is shot makes you absolutely absorbed into the story. While the settings in the world created make it feel so unique, but also real, the way it is shot makes you feel as if you are actually there too. The camera will linger on an image for an extended period of time, like something as simple as panning down a river. This makes you feel as if you are there too contemplating the world presented to you as those who live there are doing so too. Every single second in The Zone makes you want to know more and the whole time you are allowed to think about what is going on. You constantly want to know more, and are allowed to do so by your own volition without the director telling you what is going on. This all works in harmony to create one of the best, or even the best world ever put to the screen.
But it isn't just about the location itself, it is also about the characters and how they respond to the world they are put in. The three characters are archetypes who are perfectly selected to demonstrate what is going on and how people react to faith. The three characters we are presented with are the writer, who is looking to find inspiration, the scientist, who wants to get the Nobel Prize, and The Stalker who wants to make money by leading them there. However, as the movie goes on, we learn that there is more to each of these characters than we originally thought. Each of them slowly shifts in a way that gradually reveals their characters and true desires that feels entirely genuine. The way that each of their characters comes to a head at the conclusion is an absolutely perfect resolution to the movie.
Stalker is one of the best movies ever made. It is complex, beautiful, thought provoking, and so much more. Every second of this movie made me want to learn more, and every shot and sequence perfectly conveyed what it was trying to say. I loved this movie, and it is definitely one of my new favorites, so while because of the length and complexity I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, it is truly a masterpiece and you should definitely check it out.