Konstantin Khabenskyas Anton Gorodetsky
Galina Tyunina as Olga
Vladimir Menshov as Geser
Viktor Verzhbitsky as Zavulon
By The Zombie Master, Lee Roberts
Night Watch (Nochnoy Doroz) is a Russian Horror/Fantasy of Epic Proportions. This film has received quite a bit or notariety and is the highest grossing box-office film to come from Russia since the fall of the Kremlin. This is one of those rare instances when the hype is justified.
I was a little apprehensive at the thought of a Russian fantasy/horror film. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching foreign films. So much so that I even prefer the “subtitled” presentation rather than the “dubbed”. Nochnoy Doroz (Night Watch)however is the first installment in a series, Day Watch released in 2006 and Twilight Watch is currently in production, and the series is reported to be on an epic scale the size of The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Could Russia foster the environment needed to facilitate their version of a Peter Jackson or the Wackowskis? My worries were unfounded however and Bekmambetov is a director that you should keep an eye on.
The epic begins with a little bit of background material. It seems that at one time there was an epic battle between the Army of the Light, led by Geser (Vladimir Menshov), and the Army of the Dark, led by Zavulon (Viktor Verzhbitsky). This battle was unending because both sides were equally matched. Geser and Zavulon met to work out a truce. To ensure that the truce was adhered to, both sides agreed to set up “watches” for enforcement. The Night Watch consist of members of the Army of the Light who work to make sure that the Army of the Dark does not breach the contract and the Day Watch does the same.
The story revolves around Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky), a member of the Night Watch who has the ability to “hear” when a member of the Dark is “calling” a victim. He is also one of the central figures of a prophecy that tells of one who will come and break the balance between both forces and either side with Light or Dark. And you thought your life was rough.
This is an exceptional film. From the screenplay and directing done by Timur Bekmambetov to the cinematography, from the daunting task of editing to the original score, from the visual effects to the fantastic acting Night Watch leaves no stone unturned and by the end I was both in awe of what I had just seen and immediately looking forward to seeing the next two chapters.
Needless to say, I like this film and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fast paced, highly energetic epics. If, on the other hand, you tend to lean more toward the bloody vampiric type of movie your needs will also be met. Who am I kidding, just go out and rent or buy Night Watch and make your own judgment. You won’t be sorry