9 November 2005

Night Watch - Cool as Hell Indeed!

Nochnoy Dozor is a huge Russian film that is the start of a trilogy, based of novels of the same name. A thousand years ago a war started raging between Light and Dark (Others). They were equally matched Gesser, (the/a god), called a halt to it and brought in a sort of police force. The Day Watch look after the Light, the Night Watch take care of the Dark. We follow the Night Watch as they try to stop a vampire initiating others, tempting a young Other to join the Dark (side) and preventing a cataclysmic event that brings back memories of Zuul/Gozer trying to end the earth (the Ghostbusters stopped them just in time!). It's not just vampires as there are also shape-shifters, witches and future-telling. There are bound to be dumb comparisons with The Matrix but this film is nothing like it. Despite the subtitles the story flowed very well and avoided selling itself out to the US and ruining the story (although the third film in 2007 will actually be in English, it'll be co-financed by Fox). The poster for this film leads with "Cool as Hell!" and I can't argue with that, a strong contender for the foreign language Oscar. The film oozes style and is definitely not "in-your-face" nor do you ever feel bits have been added it for the "wow" factor. There are many scenes which are highly imaginative, both from an ideas and visual perspective. Several slow motion scenes seamlessly integrated into the film (as in they don't stand out as if to say "this is a cool sfx"), as well images of blood, gloom and strength in the actual actors bodies. Some of the confrontations uses mirrors to try to see the vampires (in a opposite way to the usual story) and torches to kill them which impressed me from an ideas point of view. Worth watching and I can't wait for Day Watch: Night Watch 2 next year to continue the story. A very solid four torches out of five.

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