Reviewed by: Leland Williams
Starring: Alexander Kaidanovsky, Nikolai Grinko | Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
If you were a member of the Soviet Film Guild, yet wanted to make a movie that would lead people to God, how would you do it? How would you express the forbidden truths that you could not say outright?
No, not a slasher flick, “The Stalker”, made in the U.S.S.R. by Andrei Tarkovsky, is a sort of wilderness “road movie” led by a Stalker (or Guide or Pathfinder) whose profession is to take adventurers into a forbidden research zone cordoned off by the authorities after a series of mysterious, miraculous events led the locals to believe that inside the ZONE they could find their heart’s true desire.
Like many road/travel movies, there is an inner journey along with the outer, and as the characters come closer to the Zone their inner aspirations and motivations become more and more revealed until they must decide whether or not to enter the “room” that is the heart of the ZONE.
The movie shows itself to be about spiritual things in the many philosophical statements and dialogues between the adventurers, and in the dreams, prayers, and scripture quotations by the Stalker as they try to understand the events of their journey while the Stalker tries to show them hope.
No sex, no nudity besides a family beneath the covers of their only bed and a guy in his boxers. Some violence as they dodge gunfire when breaking through the guard post at the edge of the Zone. Perhaps a word or two of profanity. A bit of telekenesis. “The Stalker” is a refreshing break from the mindless worldly concerns of most Hollywood productions that concerns itself with man’s need for the spiritual world and its requirements on us.
Year of Release—1979