ART3MIS’s review published on Letterboxd:
You dream of one thing and get something quite different.
Tarkovsky is back with another sci fi philosophical driven film. It’s essentially a macguffin story. Focusing on our deepest desire, knowledge and I guess how far we’ll go to acquire it.
Wow there’s a lot of Tarkovsky’s trademark shots in this one, the opening shot, the first location and even when the characters leave the location to then leave the car, all within the first 20 minutes. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the films visual look, it looked a bit odd at the start but then improved as the film progressed. The visual choice makes sense since this is the distant future, some toxic post apocalyptic waste land. I like that it disappears as our trio of characters is entering unknown territory. It shares a lot in common with Andrei Rublev, we have three creative characters, the writer, the professor and the stalker. One of them is even portrayed by Andrei Rublev himself (Anatoly Solonitsyn) The art/production design is most likely the best from Tarkovskys filmography so far. I really like how that room looked.
There is a pacing issue at the beginning but then it becomes a lot more engaging and mysterious. I found this the most interesting and feel it had a lot of rewatch value. The technicality aspect is the strongest here from what I’ve seen, the framing, long takes, imagery, camera movements, transitions, sound design, soundtrack, all a technical marvel. This is one of those films where multiple interpretations can come from it. Tarkovsky’s films are about a journey and funny enough this entire film is literally a journey. There’s something poetic about the actors dying particularly due to their work and commitment on this film which we’ll never forget.
Fun fact: The film contains 142 shots in 163 minutes, with an average shot length of more than one minute and many shots lasting for more than four minutes.