This is a masterpiece. You can tell from the fact that it would be just as good without sound, or sound without image, or even just a set of freeze frames played out.
That being said, what you actually get in this film is intense and vast imagery, from the minute to the universal, horrible dankness to expanding nature, inside and outside of rooms; and what is also rare, is that NOTHING is wasted in the script, no fillers, and no retreat from exactly what is going on.
The things that turn people off about it are all of its virtues, it's long, it takes its time, its script is poetry, and it doesn't shy away from talking about life.
It is also complex, but does not 'try' to be complex. It's actors, all of whom are cast perfectly, especially the almost alien demeanour of Alexander Kaidonovsky (as the paid for hire 'Stalker'), are not really there to entertain you, you are there in Communist Russia walking through cold wet puddles, with little in the way of supplies, going somewhere strange, without knowing what's going to happen.
If the world of film was filled with the opposite of this, which it is, one would have to search through the dross to find anything as worth while as this.
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