Night Watch

aka NOCHNOI DOZOR

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Menshov, Valery Zolotukhin

Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Every few years a movie arrives that will blow the audiences minds apart with a storyline that somehow grabs the imagination. In the last few years, trilogies such as THE MATRIX and THE LORD OF THE RINGS have found audiences who usually do not bother with fantasy or sci-fi movies. Yes, the geeks have been pushed aside as movie studios realise that the right movie will make them bags of money. Only this time it is not Hollywood that has come up with the next big movie idea. This time our attention will be diverted over to Russia. NOCHNOI DOZOR or NIGHT WATCH, to give it its English title, is taken from Sergei Lukyanenko’s novel. It has the usual elements of good verses evil but unlike the movies mentioned above, the budget, in Hollywood terms, is actually quite small.

Languedoc 1342, the forces of good and evil are face to face trying to cross a bridge and neither one backs down. A fierce battle to the death ensues. The Heavens can see that both the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness are equally matched and if the battle is not stopped, then everybody will die. Both forces then sign an armistice stating that neither good nor evil deeds can be made without mutual consent. Two ‘watches’ are created to police both sides – the Day Watch to watch over the forces of Light and the Night Watch to watch over the forces of Darkness. Even though both sides are somewhat immortal, they are nearly invisible to the general population. Those who can see these forces are known as ‘Others’, and they can choose which side they want to be with. It has been prophesised that a Great Other will emerge and take the side of evil, plunging the world into darkness.

Moscow 1992, Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantn Khabensky) goes to a witch to sort out his problems with his estranged wife. The near invisible Night Watch stops the witch before she can complete the spell. Now that Anton has become an Other, he joins the Night Watch. Twelve years later, Yegor (Dmitri Martynov), a twelve-year-old boy, follows a mysterious voice telling the boy to go to him. The Night Watch sends Anton out to find Yegor but loses him. The forces of Darkness are also looking for the boy and they send out the usual misfits and vampires to find him. Why are both sides interested in finding Yegor?

Do you remember the first time you saw THE MATRIX and you had no clue what was happening? The question on everybody’s lips was “What is The Matrix?” and you went to see it again just to understand what it was all about. That is exactly what you will get with NIGHT WATCH. This is the first part of a trilogy with the second part, DAY WATCH, coming out in 2006. This movie looks great and so do the special effects. The only problem here is to do with the actual structure of the story itself. The story goes off on a tangent and introduces a new plot, which does not quite relate to what you were watching. I hope there is a reason for this that will be explained in the sequels. I suppose this was to be expected as anyone who has watched THE MATRIX trilogy will remember how confusing that story got. This is only a minor quibble and as the opening movie of a trilogy, it actually leaves you wanting more. From this point onwards, it can only get better.

5 out of 6 stars

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