Andrei Tarkovsky's cold, atmospheric science fiction takes us out of our current worldview like few other films have been able to. It is a futuristic film, more in tone and realm than in sets and gadgets. As portrayed by Tarkovsky, even a conventional wood-house by a lake seems otherworldly. Unfortunately, the Russian filmmaker isn't quite able to communicate the alienation and potentially unfathomable disparity between our human lifeform and the forces our protagonist is up against as strongly and evocatively as one would want. Tarkovsky is deeply fascinated by the existential and ethical aspects of the story, but he doesn't exploit Lem's alluring basis extensively enough. And it is not the indirect narrative style or the long takes which are the problem, but rather the thematic issues the Soviet filmmaker chooses to highlight. The result is a deep and rich film with an eerie atmosphere which doesn't quite deliver on a cerebral level.