Andrei Tarkovsky's final film is an appositely apocalyptic work that serves as a fitting capstone to a brilliant and much too short career. Incorporating many of the thematic and formal concerns of the Soviet master's career, the film has a twilit, haunted quality, no doubt imparted by its ominous nuclear holocaust scenario and Tarkovsky's death from cancer just months after its completion. This parable of belief and redemption seems located on the edge of the world. The children of an esteemed, retired actor gather at the family's far-flung country house to celebrate his birthday. The eerie tranquillity is shattered by the roar of passing jets and news from the continent that a nuclear war has broken out. As always with Tarkovsky, the plot is hardly the point. The eschatological story occasions the kind of grave philosophical and spiritual inquiry that has defined Tarkovsky's movies. Shot by Ingmar Bergman's longtime cinematographer Sven Nykvist, The Sacrifice contains some of the most powerful images in Tarkovsky's monumental oeuvre. Perhaps it's most transcendent moment is the penultimate scene, an epic, six-minute-long take that stands as one of the wonders of cinema. A powerful statement of humility in the face of the unknown, The Sacrifice is an exquisite parting word from one of the great artists of the 20th century.