Day Watch

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Menshov, Valery Zolotukhin
Director: Timur Bekmambetov

DAYWATCH, the sequel to NIGHT WATCH – the most successful Russian film ever made – is a strange and wonderful beast. It is very difficult to watch it without referencing other films and it is obvious that director Timur Bekmambetov is influenced by them. A student of the Roger Corman School of Filmmaking, Bekmambetov has watched films such as THE MATRIX and THE LORD OF THE RINGS and copied their effects with a minimum of the budget but a surplus of imagination. This film is a toy box of ideas, some of them obviously from the books that are its source but as with the earlier films, the sheer invention of the director and his use of the effects, is a wonder.

This film succeeds also because, although it is both epic and incredible in scale, it is also tied into a very personal story of a father’s love and also the love of a woman. The major story is of a war between light and dark – and all the varying shades of grey that the characters actually espouse. It is also a story of redemption that carries over from the first film. Whilst it isn’t essential to have seen NIGHT WATCH to appreciate this, the main crux of the story ties in very strongly to that film. Hell, I’d recommend seeing NIGHT WATCH anyway because like this film, it manages to perform all the tricks of Hollywood, at a fraction of the budget and yet is also far more intelligent and well told.

This is a refreshing reminder of the power of visual storytelling and of how great “blockbuster” movies should be more than just throwing money at effects houses. Bekmambetov was so determined to produce this film in the Soviet Union that he created his own effects team by linking dozens of smaller effects houses and using their strengths. Their work is seamless and some of the effects – including the destruction of Moscow by foil balls and a fantastic car scene involving the side of a building – are as good as anything Hollywood and Silicon Valley have produced.

5 out of 6 stars