Between 3 and 3.5. So much of this film is faux -- faux wisdom, faux… MoreBetween 3 and 3.5. So much of this film is faux -- faux wisdom, faux emotionalism, faux neuroticism. What seems real and authentic is mired by the overfocus on it. It is elevated by good performances and a focus on neurosis and guilt. But there is no real catharsis to be found, just unendearingly damaged characters who are self-absorbed and completely neurotic. The style, which can only be described as chaotic and scattered, as if the film itself is on speed, leaves much to be desired. It almost gave me a headache. In the end, I was disappointed -- not my kind of thing I guess. It doesn't hang together in the end. With that said, there is talent, on some level, operating here.
Clearly, there is a method at work here -- I can tell that. Tarkovsky… MoreClearly, there is a method at work here -- I can tell that. Tarkovsky is a master. And it was shot visually very well (some moments of brilliance), with good acting and an interesting premise. It is momentarily evocative through various stretches. No reliance on cliches, so it gets 4/5 from me. But it just didn't grip me. These characters are all simply so unpleasant. There is a certain lifelessness here, a self-absorption, and I could only relate very tangentially to the existential wanderings here, when no answers of any sort seem to be found. You don't seem to uncover anything, vital or not, about these characters or care about them. Now, it could be that, like '2001,' this isn't about people, and it's about something much more than that -- much more than the inner landscape. But if it is, I didn't pick up on what that might be, except for the spiritual poverty and lack of carefulness many of us find ourselves in. I found it to be a film, not of hope, but of misery and bleakness. I find all this so surprising because of how much I care for Bergman's films, who in my opinion takes this in a much more personal and gripping way. Here, it is all abstract. It makes for a nice, hypnotic visual-poem as film, but there is little here that is adding to my emotional or intellectual life in any way. Like his other films, Tarkovsky shows you his world, but explains nothing, and keeps the keys to himself.
After watching this film, I understand Tarkovsky is probably most in the place of the 'Stalker' character, who is most sympathetic, but still, after 4 films from Tarkovsky I have to wonder if we just philosophically part ways when it comes to approaching the existential problems. 'Hope' and 'prayer' are not the answer, but neither is the bleak, nihilistic, self-absorbed end of the rest of the characters. This film garners my respect, curiosity, and possibly admiration in an aesthetic or conceptual sense, but it does not grab my heart, mind, or soul.