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Night Watch

A movie directed by Timbor Bekmambetov

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Come Out of the Twilight

  • Dec 26, 2007
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 powers. Wizards and witches, sorcerers and shapeshifters, and other such creatures are all Others.

As the prologue explains, the Others belong to one of two sides: Light and Dark. Light Others seek to help humanity and coexist in peace while Dark Others seek to torment and plague humanity and use humans as a means for gaining power. Over a millennia before, the Light and Dark faced each other in a deadly battle. Both sides were evenly matched and to save the lives of those that weren't killed, a truce was formed. Dark Others who make sure the Light follows the truce are known as the Day Watch, while Light others who make sure the Dark keeps the truce are known as Night Watch.

NIGHT WATCH follows the story of a particular member of the Night Watch. In 1992, Anton Gorodetsky discovers that his wife has been having an affair and wants to divorce him. He seeks out the aid of a witch to get back at the man who has wrecked his life. He is informed by the woman that his wife is pregnant and that she can get rid of the child, but only if Gorodetsky is willing to take the responsibility of the action upon himself. Gorodetsky seems to assume that the child isn't his and agrees. However, before the deed can be finished, the Night Watch arrives to arrest the witch and saves the child. Gorodetsky is amazed at the people he sees and learns then that he is an Other.

The movie fast forwards twelve years later. Gorodetsky is now a valuable member of the Night Watch and is on the prowl seeking to save a young boy from being eaten by a couple of vampires. The boys' name is Yegor and after a violent battle Gorodetsky learns that Yegor is actually his son. While trying to protect his son from revenge, Gorodetsky also become entangled with a woman name Svetlana (Mariya Poroshina) who has been cursed and is a part of the key that will bring about Armageddon. The film builds until a climatic battle upon the rooftop of a Moscow apartment building where the fate of the world is decided by the choices of Gorodetsky.

What makes NIGHT WATCH so interesting to watch isn't the plot. There are countless movies about "others" living among us and the strains they go through to co-exist and the constant struggle between good and evil. What DOES make NIGHT WATCH an interesting and fascinating movie is the cinematography. The film has some breathtaking and amazing images. Some of these shots were done using traditional old school film techniques, but many of them were done using computer effects. The result is a film that doesn't look anything like a traditional Hollywood big budget fantasy/action picture and stands on its own as an example of the power of the medium. Some of the shots appear so simple, but when viewed again one can is overwhelmed by the complexity.

NIGHT WATCH was a huge film in Russia and during the year of its release became the largest grossing Russian film ever (until that record was broken by a different movie a year later). Ironically, the film doesn't look anything like a typical big budget Hollywood film, but was protested by the group "Padonki" for being too American and Hollywood.

Highly recommended for any person who considers themselves a student of film or for people that like Russian and/or fantasy films.

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More Night Watch reviews
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 . 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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About this movie


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 ...

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Director: Timbor Bekmambetov
Genre: Foreign
Release Date: 2005
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: June 20, 2006
Runtime: 1hr 45min
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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