Alexander Wood’s review published on Letterboxd:
Tarkovsky Ranked (work-in-progress)
I originally wrote parts of this review as a comment on BrandonHabe's review of the film but I stopped halfway through, realizing it'd work better here. So, here ya go.
How do I even rate this thing? It is the heaviest, most complex, deeply personal, and (yet) distant film I've seen. To be perfectly honest, I did not enjoy watching it. Well, in the ways one enjoys chocolate or pornography. That is, it didn't create any sensation that is known to create dopamine. The last thing MIRROR is is entertaining. I was so damn confused. The truncated and stream-of-consciousness form of the piece almost overshadowed its technical beauty. I looked at reviews, I watched Youtube video essays, I sat with it for what felt like millennium. I came here (to Brandon's review) in search of advice, or a template, or a framework with which to wrap my head around this opaque behemoth. Tarkovsky's complex ruminations on life, memory, history, death, and religion felt impossible to penetrate in any meaningful way.
So, in short: I won't penetrate it. At least, not in the ways I've penetrated films before. Since I've seen it, I've stopped thinking about it. Well, in an analytical way. Instead, I've decided to just remember the visual poetry, the sweep and sway of its rhythm. I remember it exempt of any of Tarkovsky's biographical baggage or my own review-writing intent. I remember it in terms of images and what pre- and proceeded them. Because honestly, MIRROR has no message. There is nothing to dissect. It is an attempt to transcend discussion and invade the emotive receptors of the soul. It mostly succeeds. But, its success does not come from its profundity. It is not profound. It just is. MIRROR exists beyond the flaccid words used to describe it. For better, and for worse.