I got a hell of a kick out of this movie! I had gotten it on Netflix back in August and I just never watched it, knowing that even though I really liked his other movies they can be a little long and rough to watch, pacing wise. I regret putting it off for so long! The film feels especially fast-paced and breezes right by, it's intensely It's more straight-forward story-wise following the story about a young Russian boy who seeks vengence against the Nazis during WWII for killing his parents. I suppose it's natural to be a little suspicious of a movie that rests heavily on the shoulders of a child actor but Burlyayev who plays Ivan, does just fantastically. The movie looks and moves beautifully. Even though the story is straightforward enough, it's filled with Tarkovsky's visual touches. It even seems like he moves the camera WAAAAAY more than he does later on. In fact, at the very beginning it almost feels Raimi-esqe in its movement... it does feel weird to compare Tarkovsky to Raimi. He eventually settles down a bit more as we shake off the Dreaminess of the opening minutes. OH MAN! And there are so many great shots of trees. I feel like this is a really good intro to Tarkovsky, it moves faster and is less intellectual than Solaris or Stalker but has that Tarkovsky aroma. :p
The lush Russian landscape.