Thursday, February 11, 2010
In the case of Night Watch, I was decidedly behind the curve. The Internet film community has been all a buzz with great things to say about the Russian-made fantasy/horror film since it came out in 2004, but I just never got around to seeing it. Well, I finally picked up a used copy for cheap at a local store called Buy Backs, and sat down for an evening with this film, and a bottle of beer. The beer was good, but the film was better.
I don't want to spoil the plot for those of you that haven't seen the film yet, so I will keep my remarks brief. Night Watch is a bad ass movie right out of the blocks, and brings some fresh new angles, perspectives, and tricks to the art of film making. The film is a classic tale of good vs. evil, and the balance that must be maintained between the dark and the light in order for all things to exist in harmony. And as in most tales like these, it is the light that is ever attempting to maintain the status quo, while the dark tries to pull things out of balance and in its favor.
The film begins with a great medieval battle between two factions of Others (basically people with extraordinary gifts or abilities), light and dark. The battle rages on until the leaders of these warring factions realize that there can be no end unless an agreement is reached. This truce sets up the plot of Night Watch.
Present day Russia and the Day Watch watches the light to make sure they do not slip up on their end of the bargain, and the night watch watches the dark to ensure that they maintain their end of it. But, like all typical bad guys, the leader of the dark Others, Zavulon, has hatched a plan to ensure that a chosen one, who is yet to be born, will choose the dark over the light. If this sounds like the story of the fall of Anakin, then you are right. The frame work is there all right, but only on the surface.
I'm sure that you can guess where the rest of the film is headed, but I will assure you that the finished product is not the trite nonsense that you would expect from a typical Hollywood movie. All in all, it was a pretty darn good film with some great visual effects, and excellent acting. The director really had a nice way of looking at things, and the battle at the beginning was exciting enough that I went back and watched it again. I definitely recommend the film to fans of fantasy, action, sci-fi, or horror. Night Watch has a little of everything. (Dad, you can borrow my copy, okay?)
Night Watch reminded me that international film is worth the time and effort to seek it out. And finding new and great films is never a bad thing here at The Sound and Fury.
Night Watch is followed by Day Watch, and an as yet unreleased third film Twilight Watch.