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Paul Jensen

THE SACRIFICE (1986) 5 stars

Stark, religious, physically and emotionally draining. Tarkovsky's crowning achievement on an astonishing career. Nykvist's cinematography is like painting with light. Its theatrical approach appears almost 3-D at times. The long takes help us experience time in another way and the pacing draws us into a story that is challenging yet artistically rewarding. Tarkovsky brings us on a journey where we truly feel as if we've descended into despair and darkness. At one point, we journey through an entire night and then awaken, cathartic, as if after a dream. He then gives us one of the greatest climactic shots in history which literally almost killed him during filming. Obviously, the film is a major homage to Bergman whom Tarkosvky worshiped. The final image of The Sacrifice blends life, death, God and Tarkovsky's own real-life son gazing up with hope and confidence. I have never experienced such a profoundly realistic spiritual crisis.


Genre: Foreign
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky