Saturday, September 10, 2005

Night Watch aka Nochnoy dozor

After Bimmer, which I enjoyed, this is the other Russian film that has hit our shores. Simplistically put, this is the first of a fantasy-thriller trilogy, about the eternal fight between good and evil forces.

A truce is called centuries ago, where battle lines and jurisdictions are drawn. The breed of man known as the Others, are divided into the light side, and the dark side. The light Others form the Night Watch, while the dark Others form the Day Watch (the title of the second part of the trilogy). There will be Others who will be discovered and have to decide to join either side, and the light/dark side cannot influence their decision. Hence, the watch groups set up to ensure the truce and this requirement is met.

However, with any of such arrangements, you can be sure of rogue elements trying their luck to go against regulations. Prophecy states that there will be one Other who will tip the balance in favour of the side he joins, and like Episode One, this prophetic Other forms the basis of this movie, as with the quest to entice this Other to join their respective sides.

We follow the tale of Anton Gorodetsky, a newly discovered light Other who has the power to peek into the future. On a routine mission, he chanced upon a cursed woman who has unwittingly unleashed catastrophic mayhem unto Moscow, and another sub plot involving Anton's accidental killing of a dark Other, a terribly bad no-no, given the truce. That's about as far as I would say about the plot, as any more will destroy the surprises in store for the viewer - the ending when revealed, will make you rethink what you have seen.

What's more important are the themes discussed, like the perceived corruption in the system of bureaucracy, and the notion that well-meaning intentions are sometimes not well appreciated nor interpreted as such.

The movie is stylishly shot, with set action pieces making you exclaim WOW. At times, it brings to mind an old TV series called "Manimal", as there are no lack of characters here who take on the form, or can transform to and from animals like an owl or a leopard. For the international version, even the subtitles are not spared special effects, and I eagerly anticipated when the next effect filled subtitle will appear. Look out for the spinal-cord-sword, which I think is extremely cool. I could go on about characters going into the "Gloom" or the effects of the vampires slipping into and out of peripheral vision, but any more ravings will probably be a trip into spoiler zone.

The soundtrack is an interesting blend of rock and electronica, and fans of The Bravery will be pleased that the band lent their track Fearless to the international trailer, and is played at the end credits.

The villains are somewhat muted in Night Watch, but watch this anyhow because of the strong setup for the trilogy, and prepare for the Day Watch, which I think will turn the spotlight on the characters of the dark Others.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...