'The Sacrifice,' Tarkovsky's final film and the second of his non Russian productions, shot by the great Sven Nykvist (Winter Light, Cries And Whispers) is his most direct - and slightly preachy - work in his oeuvre.
While this film is still a masterwork in many respects, problems arose from the very begining. When Alexander and Toto discuss G-d and philosophy, in the vast landscape, it felt forced and contrived. Also, some preachiness was evident in the scene when Alexander asks G-D to spare the world of it's misery; "forgive those who do not believe in you because they are blind." In anouther scene, Toto tells the family a story about a mother that has her photo taken and upon recieving the prints sees the image of her son, who past away 20 years earlier, in a war. After telling the story Toto vents on how "people see nothing, they are blind." As a viewer I felt slightly insulted and disappointed by these scenes.
Apart from some of Sacrifice's flaws it still contains all we have come to expect from the master. The art works, the long takes, the slow zooms, the spirituality, and philosophical musings.
'The Sacrifice' is probably Tarkovsky's greatest sound design achievement. The intermittent voices audible throughout the film, like beckons from anouther world, and the Japanese flute that would come swooping in so elegantly with the damp winds were perfect.
Admittedly, I have only seen The Sacrifice once. Further viewings, I'm sure, will result in different readings and opinions of the film. Also, I suggest reading his book "Sculpting In Time" it has been of much help to me in understanding his art.