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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Action special effects dazzle

    There is finally a scary movie out that is worth seeing. Nightwatch is a classic good versus evil tale, with a post-communist Russian spin.
    There is finally a scary movie out that is worth seeing. ‘Nightwatch’ is a classic good versus evil tale, with a post-communist Russian spin.

    Movie Reviews

    “”Night Watch”” is not your average babushka fairy tale, that’s for sure.

    As the narrator tells it, long, long ago in a land far away known as Russia, there were two opposing sides: the forces of light and dark. These forces were fighting for supremacy. The battle raged on and on, and neither side seemed like it could win. Eventually the leaders had to come to a truce that allowed the people to pick for themselves which side they wanted to be on. To make sure it stayed that way, the two sides established a Night Watch and a Day Watch to make sure the other side stayed true to their word.

    Flash-forward to Russia today and it seems pretty ordinary. That is, until you see Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky), a sunglasses-wearing badass, hunting down two vampires who lured an innocent boy into their lair. On his way to chase the down the kid, he happens to alight upon a young woman in the subway. She’s cursed with not just bringing bad luck, but also being a living “”vortex”” that causes natural disasters that will bring about the inevitable final battle.

    It also turns out that Yegor (Dmitry Martynov), the kid Gorodetsky saved earlier, may also be the Other who legend foretold would be the most powerful member of either the Night Watch or the Day Watch. The Other is destined break the thin balance between the Light and the Dark (to be finished in the next two films of the series).

    With all its flashy technology, “”Night Watch”” seems to be Russia’s answer to “”The Matrix.”” Frantic camera work and quick cuts between fights heighten the intensity each time. Battle scenes are freeze-framed, allowing certain characters to walk through. And that’s not even the coolest fight scene. At one point, Anton tries to fight off the invisible vampires using only the shadows on the walls and a mirror. He looks crazy stumbling around, dodging no one. It’s one of the best special effects not just because of the action, but because it displays the metaphor of fighting your own inner evil and good.


    “”Night Watch””
    Fox Searchlight
    R, 115 min.

    Sometimes foreign films have trouble relating to an audience that doesn’t understand the language. “”Night Watch”” avoids this by trying to keep the language fairly simple in the dialogue scrolling across the bottom of the screen. The subtitles are even craftily used to their advantage. When the vampires are luring the young boy in, the words are in a deep red font that snakes across the screen. Angry dialogue is written in bigger font than the normal conversations. So in addition to the emotion you can hear in the characters’ voices, the audience gets an added inflection in the subtitles so that someone unfamiliar with the Russian language will never be left in the dark.

    “”Night Watch”” goes a step above and beyond what any geeky sci-fi fan could hope for in an action movie. Hey Wachowski brothers, are you taking notes?

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