Siegel™’s review published on Letterboxd:
I have seen 2081 motion pictures in my life. I have seen many of these more than once. I am not boasting, nor am I particularly proud that I spent so many years of my life in front of a flickering screen. For many months I've known that I was gradually working my way towards the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, that every time I saw a film I was getting closer to the day I would finally feel ready to experience the meditative wonders of a man whom many consider to be the greatest director of all time.
With that said, Stalker makes that whole journey worthwhile. For every hundred pieces of celluloid tripe you can be fortunate to find a diamond in the rough, and for me that was my first experience with this Tarkovsky masterpiece. Atmospheric and ambient, it is a philosophical and psychological journey that carefully guides the viewer through a series of revelations. Everything that's ever happened, every single thought ever been conceived, is a part of life, so a film that meditates on life in its entirety would need to truly encompass that grand totality. Tarkovsky manages this with virtually unmatched grace and hypnotic beauty, the cinematography astounding as each shot is overwhelming in its own way.
After my first viewing of my first Tarkovsky that is all I feel comfortable saying. There's so many potential analyses - all of which likely hold weight - that I feel to even attempt to write anything more analytical would be a profound disservice. If a single work of art could possibly define the word masterpiece, it might just be this one.