Movie Title: Nochnoy dozor / Night Watch
Date Released: July 8th, 2004 (Russia)
Date Seen: August 8th, 2013
Country/Language of Origin: Russia/Russian
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
A Russian movie, based on a novel (which I have not read) about “Others” – people who posses some type of supernatural power, such as shape-shifting, seeing the future, etc. Others choose to be either Light or Dark, who have a truce amongst themselves. But now, things are getting intense as the “Night Watch” (Light Others who govern the Night) have a few strange encounters, hinting at an inevitable war between Light and Dark. We follow one character, Anton (Konstantin Khabenskiy), who is a member of the Night Watch with the ability to see the future. He finds Dark Others (vampires) who are breaking the law or the “truce”. On one mission though, he encounters something he’s never seen before, takes things a bit to far, and then things start to get real.
The movie reminded me a lot of “Constantine”, in the light versus dark arena, because the humans couldn’t always see what was actually going on around them, like in “Constantine”. There’s also a separate realm that the characters move into, called “The Gloom”, reminiscent of Constantine going to hell, but not really the same. It had a weird factor like that of “Oldboy”. What I mean by this is you are watching and then you will have the most random scene ever, or something that doesn’t make sense – but hopefully will later. Because of this, the movie is hard to follow. For about the first 30 minutes, I was just watching trying to figure out what the heck was going on. The little introduction up there I wrote will give you way more of an idea of what is going on than if you just pick it up blind, like I did. There were things that needed to be be explained better, but never were. For example, The Gloom. They don’t ever explain it very well, at all. I wish they had. They also don’t mention that the all the Other’s have powers until towards the end, so that would have just been nice to know. They also introduce characters like they are going to be super important, but then they never are. I have a feeling it is people that were more relevant in the book, or might be important in Daywatch. But I’m not sure. It was just kind of a messy, hard to follow, incomplete plot. But it was good, nevertheless. There is a very cool scene at the end, that I don’t want to spoil. It’s cheesy but so awesome. I’ll mention it down below, in the second part, if you’re interested.
Thanks to Timur Bekmambetov, this movie is stylistically very cool. You can tell it’s his film a mile away. There’s a lot of scenes that involve the zooming in really close to things, or following the camera through the engine of a car as it starts up, or following someone’s blood moving through their veins in a highly magnified way. Even the subtitles had a bit of flair to them – and I know that sounds stupid, because how can subtitles have flair? Just trust me, they do. The subtitles will appear as someone opens a door, or disappear with the character as they walk behind a pole. Another thing they do is increase in size as someone gets louder, or start to shake as a person gets madder, until they are actually exploding at the screen. Towards the beginning, the boy Yegor has a nosebleed in a pool, and he keeps hearing a voice, and the words kind of disappear and fade into the blood when he goes into the pool. It was REALLY cool.
Overall, it was a decent movie. I loved the style of it, the cool subtitles and had a fun time watching it. The plot left something to be desired, but I would watch it again and am excited to see Day Watch.
Part 2 – In-Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
There’s a very good synopsis here.
One thing about I found slightly amusing, is that the Night Watch is essentially playing “Bait car”. Instead of a police team, it’s the Night Watch. Instead of cars, it is innocent humans. Instead of criminals, it is vampires. But they bait them, follow them, and then arrest them. Of course our experience with the hair cutter guy and Yegor goes a little astry, but still, their overall premise is that of Bait car… err… bait human? Another random thing, when Yegor is watching an episode of Buffy, I about died laughing.
A couple of things that bothered me – one is the Dark neighbor. They made it seem like he was going to be such a big deal, that their friendship was a very bad thing. They even had the extra scene with him, which was essentially unnecessary in my mind, when he came to the apartment with clothes for Olga. I want to know why they seemed to put such a big emphasis on it, and then kind of ignored it. Again, maybe once I watch Day Watch it will be clear, but who knows. Another thing is when Yegor is climbing the scaffolding outside of his building. They all know what happens when you get in a vampire induced trance – that the victim listens to every command – why doesn’t the Tiger lady then just keep yelling “Yegor, come back!” Because it clearly worked the one time she yelled it, so why not keep yelling it, until you can at least catch up to him? Just seemed kind of silly.
Also – most awesome scene ever is when Zavulon breaks his back open, rips his spine out, and reveals it to be a sword. WHO DOES THAT? As in, who even thinks to put that in a movie? It was so awesome. I loved that scene SO much. Just for the sheer, wait, is that his spine, whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, aspect that it had.
The last scene was incredible, awesome subtitles, cool stylistically, and decent plot. Give it a netflix watch.