WATCH (Nochnoi Dozor) - WÄCHTER DER NACHT
© FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
In theatres in Switzerland on 29 September
preview-review by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo____
LIGHT ONES ONLY DRINK BLOOD IN ONE SITUATION...
Fantasy meets reality
In Russia Nochnoi Dozor, Night Watch (based on the homonymous novel by Sergei Lukyanenko and the first opus of a trilogy), has been a phenomenon pulverizing all box-office records. I must say there is a reason for that. A very simple reason: this movie is fucking entertaining and new.
“Unlike in America, there were no fantasy movies shot in Russia before this one,” the director points out. “But in reading the book, I suddenly realized Sergei had managed to distill magic and miracles, the transcendent and the supernatural, into our way of life. I found that the story really was something special because in it, fantasy not only meets reality – but Russian reality — and it’s the first Russian movie that has this unique point of view. The story takes place in the real world, in real Russian life, but it’s also fantastical"
Finally the iconic characters of the so called Forces of Evil and Forces of Good are realistic, without pretention of improbable beauty and flair. A warrior of Light could be even the woman or the man next door, and the same is for a warrior of Darkness. With the exception of the character Alyssa belonging (Zhanna Friske) to the Day Watch, there are no artificial, aristocratic and arrogant guys. The servants of Light and those of Darkness have their problems like everyone. Nonetheless nothing is lost concerning thrilling, mythology, apocalyptic scenarios, prophecies, magic. And not only, the superstar is, at the end of the story, the town Moscow, a metropolis that appears so modern, up to the European (and maybe American) standards, yet always so mystical, full of fears and ambush. There in the East where suggestion, religion, occultism, the atmospheres of the past centuries and the modern pragmatism make, all together, a killer cocktail, this story is near to us and so fantastic at the same time. This is the reason why, though a couple of really unbelievable and exaggerated sequences, your attention will be strong captured from the first to the last frame, with the help of a fast, breathtaking pace. Humorous lines, active sequences, dynamic photography accompany us in this fight of the "Others". Starting from the concept that human beings are not all the same, some of them being in reality "Others" because they have special almost supernatural abilities, the eternal fight between the two sides is presented here straight forward with all the problems, with all the compromises and all the miserable or heroic moments that such a war brings with itself.
director Bekmambetov, Night Watch and their
opposite Day Watch represent two competing social philosophies.
“They represent two
different ways to live – total freedom versus responsibility,” he
“The Day Watch are the Dark Ones and they represent a kind of
totally free independence, but the Night Watchers are all about
responsibility and conscience. It’s
a dualism that’s existed for a thousand years. It’s a very old idea
that you must consider the consequences of your actions.”
Please find the borderline between Light and Dark, between Good and Evil, simply there isn't. This is the message of Nochnoi Dozor, fortunately presented not in rhetoric way. Good should protect mankind against the evil soldiers? But not always things are so simple. Every person is free to choose, every Other is free to choose: Evil and Good are only what we presume we are, what we'd love to be, what we' d love to choose.
We follow the fight in Moscow between the
implacable Night Watch head Boris Geser (Vladimir Menshov) and the Day
Watch leader Zavulon (Viktor Verzhbitsky) supported by their "armies" of reciprocal
annihilation. The fight between Geser and Zavulon began many centuries ago in full middle age.
But in order to prevent the reciprocal destruction , the two leaders made a
pact: every human being
must be free to choose between Dark and Light, and actions
of the warriors need the consent of both sides. The reciprocal control is
done through Watchers: the
warriors of the Dark are the Day Watch and "guard" against the warriors of
Light. The counterpart indeed is called Night
Watch, which consists of the warriors of Light , who guard against the "evil" side. But
an ancient prophecy says that one day a "Great One" will come, mightier
than all Others. The side he will
choose will mark the destiny of mankind, the balance will be broken. The
fulfilling of this prophecy intertwines with the related
prophecy of the Virgin, with alarming signs, with spectacular hunts and shape shifting.
All this is kept secret and even invisible to normal humans, like a fight between true
espionage agents, . To awaken these abilities and realize you are
a Other, an occasion is needed . It was so for Anton too, more or
less 12 years ago. Anton (Konstantin Khabensky), wonderful protagonist of the movie,
after having being implicated in a sad story of witchcraft and abortion
attempt, makes acquaintance of the Night Watch , understands his ability, and becomes a secret agent of the
Warriors of Light. Now, in the
Moscow of 2004 he's hunting a vampire who is not authorized to take victims. For a member of Night Watch there is only one way to catch a vampire: to
reason like a vampire, and to drink blood, in this case, pig's blood. And from now on he will fall down relentlessly in the
dangerous , almost deadly vortex of the events in which both sides struggle
in a carousel of hate and help.
Through this movie, Darkness Light and
Gloom receive new contours. In the wake of Constantine, this film could be a
Hollywood one, or even better. We are far from bombastic silly grandeur, the film got a low budget indeed, but thanks to excellent capacity of
actors, director and the whole crew , Night Watch is a very good
production that makes understand how much brilliant the post -Sovietic Russian panorama
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