June 30, 2007
Night Watch (Nochnoy Dozor) (2006)
Tvarich, you must see this movie.
Set in modern day Moscow, we are witnessing the prophesied culmination of a millenium-old power struggle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.
Notice that I did not say "good" vs. "evil". This is the first film in a trilogy that has a scope reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings.
Ages ago two armies met in battle. The slaughter was terrible, and it became apparent to the two leaders that they were perfectly and evenly matched. The leaders halted the battle to prevent further useless killing and forged an uneasy truce between them.
Still living among humans today are Others, people with extraordinary powers and abilities. They never know what they are until they are called upon by circumstances to be more than human. Once they discover themselves, they must freely choose to join one side or the other. Either dark, or light.
Some of those who control the daytime are designated as Night Watch, to maintain the truce and prevent the forces of darkness from running out of control. If a vampire wishes to take a victim, the Night Watch must approve else the forces of darkness could raise an army of vampires in a short time. There are many other such checks in play that keep the two sides in delicate balance.
At some point, a supremely powerful Other will appear and will change sides, thus disrupting the balance and allowing one side to sweep the field and be finally victorious. The prophecy says that the forces of darkness will ultimately prevail.
Sounds sexy, eh? Guess what? That's all background!
The story revolves around Anton, one of the Night Watch. We see how he discovers that he's an Other, and how small events over a period of years build up to the fulfillment of the prophecy.
I'm not going to give up any more of the plot, but I will talk about the film. It's left up in the air about whether the forces of light are any less evil than the forces of night. Put another way, the film leads you to believe that neither side is necessarily better, rather, they are just different from each other. If the dark forces seem sinister, it's only because of our human perceptions. Old legends more often attribute darkness with bad.
There are a multitude of language options on the disk, including hearing it in the original Russian with English subtitles. The English dubbed version is done really well, so you don't have to feel obligated to read subtitles. I still recommend that you do though, and to be prepared to enjoy a few little surprises.
The visuals are stunning, as are most of the special effects. Some of the scenes are uncomfortably gory. I find it odd that the effect of seeing thousands of warriors being brutally cut to pieces in battle is somehow less disturbing than a scene where two individuals are using scissors as weapons. Human nature, I suppose, and that ability for large-scale rationalization may lie at the bottom of some of mankind's less shining moments.
Even for a horror movie, some of the character's actions seem unreal. More than once I was reminded that these people aren't American or Westernized. What feels natural to a Russian in a given situation may strike you as odd, but the occasional cultural dischords don't detract from the story. If anything, they add to the underlying tension.
If you're confused, the ending nicely recaps all that had gone before, as seen through the filter of understanding how each step ultimately led to the finale. Brilliantly too.
Posted by: triticale at July 02, 2007 01:28 PM (NEgMl)
*go get them both now*, they are excellent to be watched one after the other, and in the right sequence of course.
"Twilight Watch", the 3rd part is in production,
Posted by: Neil at July 10, 2007 01:15 PM (xFUho)
Posted by: Ted at July 10, 2007 04:43 PM (7lxqj)
I saw some excerpts off both movies on youtube and shot off to order both. but i was so hyped up that i couldn't wait for the dvds to arrive (and they've not arrived yet!) so in the meantime i donwloaded them from emule - horrible subs made by some kind soul who speaks both english and russian, barely understandable but they are a feast for the eyes and a treat for the mind.
Posted by: Neil at July 22, 2007 05:20 AM (xFUho)
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