In future Russia, there is a place called the Zone that was the site of a former disaster(the actual Chernobyl exclusion zone would happen later, making this film a little spooky prophetic). In the center of this Zone, stands a room that is rumored to grant a person’s most desired wish. As the Zone is quarantined by police, there are a number of smugglers called Stalkers that help guide people into the Zone. One Stalker leads two gentlemen, known only by their professions as Writer and Professor, on a journey into the Zone to the room. Their trip is a surreal tale of invisible obstacles and discovery of the true nature of this strange phenomena.
Stalker is a world famous piece of Soviet Sci-fi cinema, it has made several lists of the best films ever made, however it is not for novices. The film is an extraordinarily heavy, existential, metaphoric journey into the nature of desire. It is brilliantly shot and the dialogue is fascinating, but at a glance it could almost be mistaken for an American parody for old, slow, overly long ‘foreign’ films. Not that there would be any truth to that assumption, but be aware of what you are going into and don’t expect a light, ‘popcorn’ film.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
- New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- New interview with Geoff Dyer, author of Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room
- Interview from 2002 with cinematographer Alexander Knyazhinsky
- Interview from 2002 with set designer Rashit Safiullin
- Interview from 2002 with composer Eduard Artemyev
- PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Le Fanu
Rami Malek plays a man living in three parallel lives. In one he’s a bearded lunatic who breaks into rich people’s unused cabins in the woods so he can shower and stay out of the cold. He also calls radio shows and seems obsessed with a dimensional inversion he believes is coming. In the second thread the bearded man is now lost at sea and drinking his own urine. In the final timeline, he is a clean shaven young man named Jonah who has a family and a good job as the night manager of a motel. The mystery at the center of Buster’s Mal Heart is just how do these three threads come together, if at all, and in what order.
Rami Malek is brilliant here, as Jonah he’s much warmer and removed from his Mr. Robot role but there’s still plenty of thoughtful, intense staring to be had. The film starts off pretty intriguing and there’s a lot of great scenes but the conclusion and revelations become something of a convoluted mess. By the time you reach the end of the multiple protracted endings you may be confused or mildly frustrated and no longer concerned with unraveling the truth of Buster’s Mal Heart.
SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
- Deleted Scenes
Adam Ruhl is a writer and life long Cinephile. He is the Executive
Cinema Editor of Pop Culture Beast’s Austin branch; covering festivals,
conventions, and new releases. When not filing reports, Adam can be
found stalking Alamo Drafthouse Programmers for leads on upcoming
DrafthouseFilms titles. Adam once blocked Harry Knowles entrance to a
theater until he was given extra tickets to a Roman Polanski movie.