When it first appeared, Tarkovsky’s Stalker: A Film by Andrei Tarkovsky was seen as a parable of totalitarian ruin. Since the curtain came down, it has a more universal reach. David Thomson ( “Have You Seen . . . ?”: A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films , 822) sees in it “a universal malaise,” with its “appearance of decay, of chaos, of seepage . . . . [Tarkovsky’s] world is one of desolation, ruin, and breakdown. Nearly all structures are destroyed, abandoned, and repossessed. Thus, ‘home’ has become a very unreliable concept.”
Stalker leaves the viewer dreading (or hoping for) a cleansing flood of biblical proportions.