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Challenging, provocative, and ultimately rewarding, Andrei Tarkovsky'sStalkeris a mind-bending experience that defies explanation. Like Tarkovsky's earlier and similarly enigmatic science fiction classicSolaris, this long, slow, meditative masterpiece demands patience and total attention; anyone accustomed to faster pacing is likely to abandon the nearly three-hour film before its first hour is over. On the other hand, those who approach Tarkovsky's work in a properly receptive (and wide awake) frame of mind are likely to appreciate the film's seductive depth of theme and hypnotic imagery. Set in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic future (although the time-frame is never specified), the eerie and unsettling story focuses on the title character, Stalker (Aleksandr Kajdanovsky), who leads characters known only as the Writer (Anatoli Solonitsyn) and the Scientist (or Professor, played by Nikolai Grinko) into a mysterious region called The Zone. Tarkovsky films their journey as a long odyssey, or religious pilgrimage, and center of The Zone--said to be under an alien influence--is where each of these men hopes to find a kind of personal transcendence. Despite obvious parallels toThe Wizard of Oz, Tarkovsky's film is devoid of special effects or any fantastical elements typically associated with science fiction or fantasy. Instead,Stalkermakes astonishing use of sound and bleak-but-beautiful imagery to envelope the viewer into the eerie atmosphere of The Zone and the dank, colorless landscape that surrounds it. And while the film's glacial pacing may be off-putting to some viewers, there's no denying thatStalkerhas a mesmerizing power of its own, including a thought-provoking and highly debatable ending that propels the film to a higher level of meaning and significance.--Jeff Shannon
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CastNikolai Grinko, Aleksandr Kaidanovsky, Alisa Frejndlikh, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Natasha Abramova
DirectorAndrei Tarkovsky
Genre:  Foreign, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Screen WriterAndrei Tarkovsky, Arkadi Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky
DVD Release Date:  November 7, 2006
Runtime:  163 minutes
Studio:  Kino Video
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review by . January 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Tarkovsky's fifth feature film, and the last one he made in the USSR, depicts a profound and unsettling journey into the mysterious regions of human desire. Probably his best film and likely the best introduction to his work, the film employs the trappings of science fiction in order to explore the relation between literature and science, between reason and faith, and between the individual and the state.     A strange region, of unknown origins, is created in the midst of an …
Stalker: A Film by Andrei Tarkovsky
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