The Sacrifice review

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Watching the reissue of Andrei Tarkovsky’s final film The Sacrifice (1986) you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d wandered into an Ingmar Bergman movie. Filmed on the Great Swede’s home island of Faro by his long-time cinematographer Sven Nykvist, it also stars Erland Josephson in exactly the kind of tormented atheist role he regularly played for Bergman. As Alexander, the retired actor who embarks on a long night of dread and self-searching after a TV news broadcast warns of impending nuclear apocalypse, Josephson has rarely been so intense. The scene in which he reneges on a lifetime’s atheism to make a desperate prayer for salvation is devastating. For all its Swedish trimmings, the long, syrup-slow takes are unmistakably Tarkovsky’s, and it’s these that provide this arthouse disaster movie with its mesmerising power.

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