The Sacrifice
Film Review


The Sacrifice is like other Tarkovsky films, such as Stalker and the Mirror, in that it can put the viewer into a state that is reminiscent of trying to grasp nature as a child. I mean, staring at things and contemplating them without thinking words. This is something, but what is it? The film is about a man who is not happy with his life, but when something tremendously dire happens, he cannot bear to give up living. What is to be done? Interestingly, the film definitely feels like it has a Swedish / Bergman influence on it, and is distinct from the other Tarkovsky films. This comes through even in the dialogue, some of which is hard to imagine as coming from Russians. There is also this inside / outside distinction. Inside the house of the main character things often feel staged, artificial, theatrical. Outside the house, it feels like other Tarkovsky films, very elemental. The sound effects are often great for the mood: the roar of jet bombers, the fairy-like singing / calling of a sheperdess, the chirping of a flock of unseen birds, the roar of flames. Then there is the talk of an odd friend to the main character, talk about supernatural things, and put very seriously and insistently. What is this world of the protagonist? And what is to be done with it? Like other Tarkovsky films, you have to get yourself into the mood and the mysterious experience, or the film will not work for you. With the Sacrifice, this is harder to do than with the others, because the film is a bit uneven. But stick with it, because it picks up as it goes on and comes to a memorable climax.

4.25 / 5.0

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