Saw this last night and was pretty much blown away. I can't say I fully understant what Tarkovsky is trying to say here, but it definitely doesn't give any easy answers. I was leaning towards The Room, with all it's biblical connotations actually being more representative of something along the line of being the opposite of God. In the sense that, because the people that have visited The Room either die after entering or, or before even making their way to it, that what they find in the room is something deeply negative. They mention that it makes dreams come true, but, to paraphrase, it grants "wishes" that would "not be shouted out to everyone, but ones that are hidden deep inside" and reflect the persons truest wish. Kind of like if you are someone who says they want to create a great work of art, but deep down really want to punish your father for beating you as a child, the dream of punsihing your father would be the one that actually comes true. A truth that most people who enter are not ready to face. I would compare this almost to a deal you would make with Satan. He grants your darkest wish, and when he makes it come true, you lose yoursefl, or your soul. It is telling that the Stalker's mentor went into the room and died shortly after achieving his dream. From Wikipedia:
" At times he refers to a previous Stalker named "Porcupine" who led his brother to his death in the Zone, visited the Room, gained a lot of money, and then hanged himself. It appears the Room fulfills all of the wishes of the visitor, the problem being that these might not be consciously expressed wishes, but the true unconscious ones."
"As they recover from their exertions Writer has a timely revelation about the room's true nature. He explains that despite the man's conscious motives, the room fulfilled Porcupine's secret desire for his brother's death, and that Porcupine's suicide was inspired by the resulting guilt. He further reasons that the Room is useless to the ambitious and is only dangerous to those who seek it."
After reading up on it online, most people who have written about it tend to admit that they don't know what the movie is about, but most tend to suggest The Room is a Garden of Eden or a "good place", where good things happen, but I don't really see how this is supported by the quotes above. Almost seems like they are projecting their own views on what they want out of The Room, more so than what it actually represents. Most seem to view the Stalker as a Christ like figure leading the damned to salvation, but I saw him more as someone who is led by an unseen force that he doesn't completely understand and almost follows out of obiligation(again, suggesting that The Room could actually have negative intent for those that enter, if such a thing is possible, and it is using a proxy to lure power/greed/fame seeking people to their doom). Overall, a very interesting movie and one well worth checking out if you are into philosophical movies that don't give any easy answers.
EDIT: Maybe, like the cup of Christ in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, however, the power is meant to be acknowledged, but is in no way intended to be wielded by men, who view themselves above animals(there is a whole speech about how we are not like them), when in fact we are no different than an animal, plant, water, dirt, etc. We are all part of the same thing, and that part is infinitely small and, ultimately powerless. Wanting to "live for more than 100 years" is laughable in the context of not realizing what we really are.
On a side note, I couldn't help but think about a movie this well thought out makes a movie like Prometheus look infinitely more sloppy and lazy. This is great sci-fi cinema and wants you to join in the conversation, where Prometheus thinks it is smarter than you, when actually it has nothing of true importance to say about anything, other than confusing you because you are not as steeped in it's references as it thinks you should be, thus putting the filmmaker in a place above the viewer instead of engaing them on the same level like a movie such as 2001 or Solaris, or this.
Edited by RCA - 3/6/13 at 12:21pm