Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Night Watch


I got criticised for not posting enough for which I am sorry, I got swamped by loads of Russian and Czech work not to mention essays but as I am ill and tucked up in bed watching the rain fall against my window I thought I'd write about one of my favourite films- Night watch. For anyone who hasn't seen it and wants to without knowing the post do NOT read below there are plot spoilers! You have been warned!

Night Watch or Ночный Дозор is a 2004 film based on the first of a trilogy of books by Sergei Lukyanenko and is the only Russian film ever to be bought by an American company, Fox, which thus makes it the most successful Russian film ever.

The film opens with a battle between the good and bad 'others' a group of super humans who have the ability to go into 'the gloom' a sort of twilight world that normal humans can not go into. During the battle the leaders of each side realise that they are both equally matched and that it is pointless to continue as all the will happen is more bloodshed. Geser (Vladimir Menshov) speaks for the light while Zavulon (Viktor Verzhbitsky) speaks for the dark. They agree to a truce where 'Night watch' will patrol the night and keep the Vampires etc at bay while 'Day watch' while patrol the day and keep the others at bay. During this scene we also learn of the legend of 'The Great Other' who is yet to come, which ever side he choose they will win this battle.

The film then skips forward to 1980s Moscow where we meet Anton Gorodetsky (the gorgeous Konstantin Khabensky) the hero of this film meeting with a Witch. His wife has run off with another Man and is now pregnant, the witch tells him that she can kill the unborn child but he must agree to take this sin upon himself. Before she can clap her hands and complete the spell Night Watch turn up and stop her. It is at the point that Anton realises he is an other as he is able to pass into the Gloom and can see the other Others in it.

Time fast forwards to modern day Moscow where Anton has now joined the Night Watch and is sent out to protect a young boy, Igor (Dmitri Martynov), who is under the call of two vampires. Using his special ability and drinking some blood he tracks him down. A bloody battle ensues where he nearly dies, while tracking him down on the metro he comes into contact with a young blond doctor. He then sees a vision of a huge tornado hitting Moscow, causing planes to crash, the power to go out and basically a whole load of chaos and the destruction of Moscow.

While Geser is fixing him after the fight with the two vampires we learn the story of a young woman, who had a curse placed on her by a witch. Any house she entered the pets died, any animal she petted died and she basically cursed anyone or anything she touched. In short this blond doctor is a present day version of her.

Geser provide Anton with Olga the owl, she in facts turns out to be a woman who was cursed to be an owl as a punishment after disobeying Geser. The pair of them are then sent to protect the young boy from earlier, Igor. While looking after him in his flat Anton discovers from a photograph that Igor is in fact his son and was the son that he tried to kill earlier in the film. He also learns that Igor is an other and briefly explains to him about each side and that in the Future he will have to choose a side, but it is his choice alone.

Anton gets called away to try and find out who cursed the doctor as the foreseen tornado steadily approaches Moscow and starts to cause chaos. Understandably they do not want Moscow to be destroyed so they send Anton to try and get the Doctor to confess as to who cursed her. After tricking her into letting him into her flat we learn that she is an other who cursed herself. Anton gets her to uncurse herself and the tornado disbands into a flock or ravens.


Mean while Igor has been lured onto the roof of his tower block by the vampiress, she is threatening to bite him if Anton does not turn up. Anton runs over to try and save his son, it is at this point that we learn that Igor is The Great Other. Unluckily for him Zavulon turns up and just to add more trouble to the mix tells Igor about the fact that Anton tried to kill him. Igor comes to the conclusion that both sides are as bad as each other and leaves with Zavulon, choosing the Day watch over Night watch. The film then end with The Great Other in the hands of Day Watch.

Memorable quote from this film:

'And so it will be, until a man emerges who is meant to become the Great One. And, if he chooses the side of Light, then Light will win. But, those, to whom the truth has been revealed, say that he will choose Darkness. For it is easier to kill the Light within oneself, than to scatter the Darkness around' Geser

While this film sounds complex it is easy to follow as long as you put on the English subtitles while watching, unless you can speak Russian :P If you have time this is one film I would highly recommend seeing as long as you have a pretty hardy stomach, some scenes are VERY gory!

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