- Shows promise as the beginning of a trilogy... 5/2/2005 12:00:00 AM by deepcheck
I have always respected fantasy-set films that try and take themselves seriously as cinematic pieces. When a director takes the actual construction of the film seriously, or tries to, I can respect the intent. As such "Night Watch" is difficult to judge. The cinematography is excellent: the camera-work is superb, the mood is perfect, the effects are beautifully rendered (and not overused), and the timing of individual scenes is consistent throughout the piece. The problem is the overall timing of the film. For over half the film, the overall plot and premise is ignored. It is very much as if we are watching two different episodes of the same TV series; the characters are the same, the premise is the same, it is clear how the plots fit together visually and thematically, but otherwise they have pretty much nothing to do with one another. They are not disjointed in their construction or presentation, it is simply that the plot threads are mostly unrelated.
It is worth pointing out that this is the first film in a planned trilogy. Every hanging plot/character moment in the film is very strongly intended to be followed through upon in the next two films, and it shows. Characters and references are not simply tossed aside, but are led into gently just enough to let the audience know that greater things are intended. While I'm not particularly a fan of this kind of thing, Night Watch does it very well, and I await the sequels with anticipation.
Many people on this board have made comparisons to Star Wars EpI-II, and for the life of me I haven't the faintest clue why. The concept of Imperfect Good vs Seductive Evil within the human soul was hardly invented by George Lucas (though vampires in Star Wars would be pretty freakin' cool), and its presentation in Night Watch is tight and interesting. There is no resemblance whatsoever, this is one of the more original films that I have ever seen, and I recommend it both for its flaws and perfections.
- Amazing and Unique: a compelling story with a breath-taking presentation 3/17/2006 12:00:00 AM by salsadancingboy
On the surface the story line appears to be standard Hollywood stock; a race of super-humans (called "Others") exists. The Others are divided into two camps: the keepers of the light and the army of darkness. 1,000 years ago they fought each other to a bloody stalemate and signed the Truce. The standard Hollywood story line stops there. The Truce has very specific terms and any individual caught violating the Truce faces severe consequences. Both sides continually cheat the Truce and bait each other to violate its terms so that they can catch and punish the guilty individuals. The most important rule of the Truce is that each Other must decide freely which camp they wish to join: the Light or the Dark.
The movie follows a boy who is destined to be the Great Other who will tip the balance of power to the camp he decides to join. The story is filled with stunning visuals and sound effects - think the best elements of The Matrix and Highlander with a bit of Sin City thrown in. All the characters are three dimensional and the actors' performances are superb. (A rarity in action films these days.) In Night Watch the line between good and evil is often blurred. The lead character struggles with what is a truly a moral action and what is not. Night Watch does not offer any easy answers to this question. After all, what is moral and what is not is something that each of us must decide freely for ourselves.
This is an incredible movie and is not one you have seen before. I highly recommend it.
- mind boggling 10/12/2005 12:00:00 AM by nobbytatoes
When the forces of light and dark take to battle and realize they are equally strong, decide to make a truce. The people of light will become the Nightwatch, and the people of darkness will become the Daywatch. Neither side can force people to join their side, they have the freedom of choice. The Daywatch and Nightwatch keep tabs to make sure this truce holds.
When Anton finds out he is an other; a person with special powers, he joins the side of light. Anton is a seer and when he is finding a victim of two vampires, he runs into Svetlana, a virgin cursed with bad luck and key into the Apocolpes.
Night Watch is a mind blowing, visually astounding triumph of Russian cinema. Its dark, claustrophobic, grungy and a very thrilling ride. You can see that Timur Bekmambetov has a history in commercials, this moves at a fast paced and the camera doesn't stop moving, with constant fast swoops and always tracking around. The story has been done many times before, but it seems so fresh here. The flaw of the story though is that it's so layered it's hard to understand at first. As it moves at such at fast pace, there isn't much chance to take everything in and to nut everything out. But with all the energy Nightwatch contains, you don't care, cause you'll gladly go again.
For the small budget it had, you wonder how they made this film. You are constantly blown away by the visual effects. They are so flawless. The subtitles are cleverly used as well; they come into a form of their own.
All i can say is i cant wait for the sequels to now make there way over.
- Disarming and Marginally Effective Russian Vampire Romp 3/7/2006 12:00:00 AM by WriterDave
"Night Watch" is far more entertaining than many of its American counterparts in the "secret underground world of vampires and good vs. evil" genre. Unlike "Underworld" and "Constantine" it kept my attention throughout, but still this Russian smash is severely flawed.
First, let's applaud the good parts. "Night Watch" is distinctly Russian. Moscow is presented as a vibrant mix of modern metropolis and Gothic-style throwback to the middle ages. The plot, heavily steeped in its own fabricated mythology from a series of popular books, also serves on some level as an allegory for the fall of Communism and the rise of Capitalism. In my mind, the forces of "dark" forced underground are the Communists, while the forces of "light" (whose HQ is fronted by the City Electric Company) are the Capitalists, who often get caught up in their own bureaucracy in their vain attempts to keep the peace and not violate the truce. Some of the special effects and modern riffs on vampirism are highly imaginative and disarming (I loved "The Gloom" aspect). The American distributors also deserve some credit for their creative use of subtitles which often become part of the scene without ever distracting from the visuals.
Unfortunately, the director is clearly a veteran of music videos, and he makes the action sequences hyper kinetic and often incoherent. When he does manage to create an alluring visual, he quick-cuts, and you wish he would've had the patience to hold some of the shots longer. This hectic visual style is evident in the plotting as well, which clearly is setting up for sequels with the introduction of many characters, though some of the subplots (especially involving the cursed virgin woman and her evil vortex) seemed unnecessary. Likewise, the rushed finale seemed oddly anti-climatic and didn't pack the wallop I feel the filmmakers intended.
Despite the flaws, I will eagerly await the American distribution of the sequels, and I suppose that is the greatest compliment a film like this can receive.
- outstanding! 10/10/2004 12:00:00 AM by ching0
I bought this movie a month or two ago. Unlike most movies I have seen for a while, this movie grabs your imagination and doesn't let go. From the story line, to the cinematography, to the surprise that a few certain scenes were computer-rendered... I was captivated by this movie.
I had heard that this movie did very well in the Russian box office from a friend, and decided to buy it. If this movie were to be released in the US, it would probably rank equally as high.
Nochnoj dozor delves into the realms of good and evil. The story is that a treaty was made during an ancient war between good and evil, the agreement being a balance between the two. Evil would set up a "Day Watch" to police the Light/Good beings. They, in turn, ran a "Night Watch" which would police the Dark/Evil beings.
The supernatural powers of both sides, which are portrayed in the movie, are some of the cleanest 'movie-magic' I have ever seen.