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Night Watchis that rare film that--likeThe Matrix--is not only visually dazzling but creates an intriguing, seductive, and thrilling alternative world. A young man named Anton, after dabbling in black magic to bring back the wife who left him, discovers that the world is populated by fantastical Others (vampires, shape-shifters, witches, and more) who have chosen sides--Light or Dark--in an epic battle. A truce has been declared; both sides watch the other to ensure the truce is maintained. But a prophecy has predicted that a powerful Other will tilt the balance, and Anton--who is himself an Other--finds himself crucial to the prophecy's fulfillment. There's no question thatNight Watchhas weaknesses. Numerous plot holes get glossed over by pell-mell pacing, the visual conception of the apocalyptic battle between Light and Dark is curiously pedestrian (a bunch of knights fighting a bunch of guys in fur with swords--what happened to their various powers?), and more--but, much like similar problems withThe Matrix, it doesn't matter.

The alternative world Night Watch presents is so rich with possibilities that it takes on a life of its own, both as an imaginative universe and as a vivid metaphor for the moral complexities of our own lives--for example, though the forces of Light claim to be good, their often brutal actions call their virtue into question, and the forces of Dark make some compelling moral arguments on the topic. The movie is so overstuffed with ideas that many don't get fleshed out, but that only contributes to the sense of vitality and unexplored dimensions. Even the subtitles are used creatively. The impending sequels (this is the first film of a trilogy) may--like The Matrix--take all the stimulating possibilities Night Watch raises and drag them into the toilet, but for the moment, this is the sort of electric excitement that blockbuster movies promise but so rarely deliver. --Bret Fetzer

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CastVladimir Menshov, Galina Tyunina, Valery Zolotukhin, Konstantin Khabenskiy, Mariya Poroshina
DirectorTimbor Bekmambetov
Genre:  Foreign
Release Date:  2005
MPAA Rating:  R
Screen WriterTimur Bekmambetov, Laeta Kalogridis, Sergey Lukyanenko
DVD Release Date:  June 20, 2006
Runtime:  1hr 45min
Studio:  20th Century Fox
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review by . June 16, 2008
Pros: Visually stunning, generally engaging plot      Cons: Requires close attention, story sometimes difficult to follow      The Bottom Line: First of a trilogy, has plot problems because of this, but is all in all worth the effort. The telling is stunning.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Before going into the story and analysis, I have to say that you have to be prepared to watch …
review by . December 26, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Based upon a novel by Sergei Lukyanenko, NIGHTWATCH is an action-packed, cinematically illuminating film from Russia about the individual decisions that people make and how those choices and affect the struggle between good and evil. The movie begins with a prologue explaining that there people who live in the world who resemble humans, but are not. These people are known as Others. The exist in our world, but also live in a plane separate from it. Others have an incredibly long lifespan and have …
review by . August 17, 2006
Night Watch is a refreshing take on the good versus evil battle, without yawning anthologies and preaching as its concise, to the point and draws the watcher in and doesn't let go unless some scenes are so obscure that you need to pause the TV and sit there and ponder the images that seared the brain. It's part one of a grand trilogy taking place in modern Moscow, unknown's to the humans there, a breeding ground for shape shifters who can turn into bears and tigers, vampires, sinister cursed characters …
review by . July 27, 2006
And after that it went all over the place. A number of reviewers stand correct on this film regarding its ups and downs base on the production. There are a number of movies you can describe this to. To me personally it was a blend of `The Matrix,' a dash of `Constantine,' with a hint of `Under World,' place it the oven you get `Night Watch' done in one hour and fifty four minutes.     It's hard to believe that this film was only done with $4 million, that's like pocket change …
review by . June 20, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
I'm not going to comment on the film in general, since there are lots of reviews that have already done that. I enjoyed it quite a bit -- a nice and inventive twist on supernatural/superhero/good vs. evil themed films, with the advantage that cultural differences between the United States and Russia make this one feel a bit more quirky than the usual fare. While the film is obviously inspired by post-Matrix Hollywood sci-fi, its story and style are distinctive enough, and dark enough, to render …
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Related Topics
Day Watch (Unrated) (2006)

A movie directed by Timur Bekmambetov

Night Watch / Day Watch (Two-Movie Collection)

A movie directed by Timur Bekmambetov

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