Braden’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Conscience and soul-searching were all invented by the mind.”
It’s plagued my thoughts for days, and rewatching really helped me form an understanding on what I think it’s about, but I don’t think I could do any sort of analysis service at this time. I will say though, that Tarkovsky’s and the writers’ perspective is incredibly important and fascinating, especially considering that we rarely see the raw feelings of people living in their time and place represented in mainstream media today, which is surprising considering how much it still resonates with just about every person alive no matter the environment they grew up in. While the dystopian world of the film may seem like fiction to us nowadays, it’s piercingly obvious that their lives and country had a major influence on the world and atmosphere of the film, and as a result feels more true than any other representation of a dystopia I’ve ever seen.
As far as filmmaking goes as well, Stalker is astounding, really proving that it’s not what you have, but what you do with it. Tarkovsky successfully manages to brilliantly utilise the limitations of the budget and resources and use them to his advantage to achieve an added sense of realism and atmosphere that couldn’t have been done the same otherwise. It’s a kind of filmmaking that is so rare and difficult to pull off, evidenced by the film’s troubled shoot, but one that is so effective when done properly.
Ultimately, Stalker is unbelievable feat that succeeds excessively on a technical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual level.