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Customer Review

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, I do have better drugs...., August 21, 2005
This review is from: Stalker (DVD)
I love the trash review directly below! And I always stupidly thought it was drugs and sophomoric attitudes that made films like this impossible for some people.

Working with next to nothing, Tarkovsky conjures up a unique film experience. Imagine a visually magical film about the search for the Grail filmed in someones backyard--it's kind of like that. In some respects it's a bit like Godard's Alphaville...but only in some. It's certainly not a film to "get," but one to get lost in and I think that's why it frustrates a lot of viewers who sometimes think every intelligent film is a puzzle that needs to be worked out. Some film-goers need to understand that one can't always be poetic and linear/literal (I say "can't always" to be ironic). Hard point to make in the world's most unpoetical linear/literal society.

Tarkovsky is a master of the tangential, the sublime, the surreal--anything but the direct. I've watched this film nearly a dozen times and I can't tell you what most of it is about--especially the ending (which is utterly devastating and quite beautiful). Well, that's not totally true, I've a fair idea what it's vaguely about; in some ways the meaning's as clear as French criticism. It's just elusive too, because people's souls are slippery eels, and souls seem to be an obsession with Tarkovsky.

I'd put hard money on this being a great film but it's tough to prove it, especially using the Procrustean critical and analytical tools we find scattered around the garage today (The "Boring-ometer," or the "Left-handed PC Gauge") People who strongly dislike it seem to be of two camps: one is the sort of ADD group that can't handle long, slow movies with little visceral stimulation; it's a valid lifestyle for many but insufficient grounds for condemning anything*. The other camp consists of a type that's been with us since the cave man or woman discoverer of the wheel was given one star on Amazon.rock for creating a pointless spinning thing that made folks dizzy. There's no response available to complaints that a complex, advanced, or visionary work of art is "boring," "artsy," or "pretentious." The reviewer is writing--quite validly and no irony intended--to his or her equals and they should listen keenly. My dog, Alphonse, once reviewed a Beethoven symphony and described it as "meaningless and annoying low-frequency noise with no hope of dinner or treat implied in its raucous ending" and since that was published (in The New Yorker, no less!) no other dog has bothered to listen to the "Eroica." My cat hates paintings by Mondrian because the artist didn't leave enough texture on the canvas to sharpen ones nails on. The mice, however, love Pollock. To each according to their needs and abilities.

[* I recently suggested to the Turner folks that since colorizing worked so well to bring boring old black and white films to the attention of the easily distracted (Or "Differently Attentive" as the PC folks say), that we should, uh, "stimulize" slow-moving old films. This would involve say, adding footage of car crashes and explosions, maybe even a graphic decapitation to "Twelve Angry Men" or re-editing "Jane Eyre" so that it looked like an MTV video. We could easily digitally minimize clothing so that "Miracle on 42nd Street" could get an R rating and an audience. Just a thought]
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 13, 2011 2:06:18 AM PST
Chokotroztel says:
Good comment! Gracias.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2015 10:55:20 AM PDT
Jaime Hudson says:
Great commentary, and I lol at your cat & dog's own artistic criticisms. Classic stuff!
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Review Details



Wayne A.

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 39,090