Quick recap: A guide takes two desperate men into a dangerous place called The Zone, which grants your innermost wish.
Fun (?) fact: Supposedly, 3 members of the crew died from chemical contamination while shooting this movie in Estonia.
My thoughts: Not only is this movie in Russian, but it is over 2 1/2 hours long which means I wasn’t jumping for joy at the prospect of watching Stalker. Nonetheless, I threw on my pajamas, poured a drink and settled in. And you know what, you guys? It wasn’t that bad. I think I’ve finally realized that many of the movies I fear watching turn out to be the most interesting and the ones I get excited about let me down in some way. Especially Psycho which I am still in recovery from my disappointment.
The colorization (I’m sure that’s not the technical term) of the film is what stands out the most for me. The beginning of the movie up until the men entering The Zone has a sepia tone to it, much like the beginning of The Wizard of Oz. The Zone is gorgeous, in a ‘zombies from a nuclear disaster are about to eat my face’ way. Throughout the film, as The Stalker reminisces about something or recites a poem, the color shifts back into the sepia tone. It was a great use of symbolism to contrast the real world with that of dreams.
While the Stalker takes The Writer and The Professor to The Room (side note: I really appreciate these names because it would be too difficult to keep up with all the Russian names), he mentions a previous stalker who went by the name ‘Porcupine’. Porcupine eventually took his own brother to The Zone but then let him die. When porcupine entered the room he begged for his brother back but when he got home he was instead made filthy rich. A week later, he hanged himself. As the Stalker points out, The Room only grants your innermost wish, not your conscious one. I thought this was a novel take on the ‘wishes’ trope and also a pretty good commentary about the minds of people.
My husband found out before I watched the movie that Stalker was loosely used as inspiration for the video game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. It makes sense because of the Zone being fraught with danger. None of the traps are visible and may not even be real, but there are certainly some spooky things that happened that made the movie a little disconcerting at times, like when the men finally get to The Room and a random phone starts ringing or the various military equipment scattered about from a failed invasion. In the end, after trekking through this dangerous place, the men end up not entering The Room after all as they learn to be careful what you wish for (which I too learned back in 4th grade from reading a Goosebumps book).
Final review: 3/5. Interesting, but not worth sitting through again. Overall, the movie was too heavy with philosophical dialogue but if you are just itching to watch something like that, you might enjoy it.
Up next: Sergeant York