553 words on Films
We went to see Ночной Дозор aka Nochnoi Dozor aka Wächter der Nacht aka Night Watch yesterday. I had seen announcements for the film before and it looked, well, a bit scary and a bit trashy. But also intriguing, as it is a Russian film and we haven’t seen too many things from Eastern Europe despite it being just next door. So, after having heard that the film isn’t as scary as the trailer looked, I could be convinced to go and watch it late in a Saturday night.
The film is apparently the first part of a trilogy about the forces of the day and the night in this world who formed a truce many century ago when seeing that they have about the same power and the battling is pointless. Since then, both sides have put out guardians of the night (for the ‘good’ people who live at day… don’t ask me why they’re named this way) and the day (for the ‘bad’ guys) who make sure nobody breaks the deal.
The story we see is about a guy, Anton, who first goes to a witch to get back his wife. She’s belongs to the dark side and is caught while doing this, where it comes out that Anton is one of the ‘Others’, as they are called. Being one of them means that you can choose which side you want to join and he joins the Light side for whichever reasons. A dozen years later, we then see him chase some people of the Dark side around Moscow and most of the film revolves about him dealing with a particular case of that where a little boy is to be lured to first serve as a little drink for one of the vampires (as, yup, the Dark people are vampires for some reason) and the become part of the Dark side himself.
And all this is wrapped into a much bigger story where there are storms coming up, people being cursed and deals being made between the Dark and the light sides. To be honest I didn’t really get the point of it at some places and it seemed a bit tacked on in situations where people seem to really want to make others decide in a certain way but don’t do much to achieve that – yet the other people just magically make some decision and all the viewer gets is a ‘ah fine’ or ‘why did you do that?’ reaction.
Let’s say I’m not entirely convinced by the story, both because it remained mysteriously sketchy and those bits that weren’t didn’t make terribly much sense to me. The dark atmosphere was OK in the film, though. But it kept reminding me of a whole catalogue of films from Star Wars to Matrix to Lord of the Rings (not that I’ve seen the latter…) to The Crow and even to the Scissorhands guy. Not in a way of a blatant rip-off but in numerous little parallels in the film which looked familiar.
In total, I welcome our new Russian overlords, but I hope they’ll come up with something better in the future. Maybe something with less blatant relations to Finnish technology companies and nasty Swiss food giants even…
Chris has a nice product placement summary, complete with screenshots.