Monday, March 20, 2006

Movie: Night Watch

So to the surprise of a few I ventured out to see Night Watch. I'm still surprised that no one thought I'd be interested in this movie; goes to show what they know. :)

The website gives you a ton of info, so here I'm going to just give you the basics and my review.

Overall rating: 3/5 - go see if you like foriegn films that are dark, moody, and have some violence

The movie is a made in Russia flick! Yay! This is my first experience with Russian film in any venue.

Though the entire movie was otherwise in Russian, the prologue and ending narration were both in English. Captioning was well done and I totally forgot I wasn't watching in English by the end.

My wife and I agree that the plot was a bit confusing. Neither of us had read the books, so that might have been helpful. The largest confusion came with added characters who were much mentioned but we see little of them in action, nor how they contribute.

An additional complication to understanding the plot was that it wasn't as simple as it might appear to be at first. The end of the movie ties several things together that unless you were playing attention, you'd be saying..ohhhhh.

The acting was fairly average with a few exceptions. This may be a language barrier, but all but the main character seemed to be less than excitable. The only other one to show real emotion were the dark siders. Light siders must have been on mellow drugs or something.

Action sequences were highly kinetic. Lots of motion, and changing of camera angles. Some parts, like the big yellow truck moving through traffic, were almost cartoonishly exaggerated. Again, unfamiliarity with Russian cinema on my part makes this hard to judge. It may be a normal part of their action movies.

The worst scenes were near the beginning with the witch, and a fight scene near the end. Both were confusing, and were overlapped with flashes of future and past. Black and white shifts were also common, causing confusion.

Black and white filming was used in several parts of the movie to represent visions as well as slipping into the 'gloom'. The gloom being sort of otherworldly place just a sidestep outside our perception. Overall the effect was passable at times, but almost enough to give you a seizure otherwise, with the quick flip between color, and b/w combined with angle and action shifts.

The direction of the movie was adequate in general, with one or two moments of great feeling and choreography taking place. The man's angst at the power plant was well done!

Overall, this was a great first experience for me with a Russian movie. There was plenty of action, vampire type creatures, deadly combat moves, swords, shapeshifters, and some tech. I believe this gentelman will do better on the sequal!

WARNINGS: blood, graphic and gross depictions of changes, blood, a woman almost losing her baby in graphic pain...etc...this is not for little children, and quite possibly not for most folks. :)

I'll be writing a small review about the theatre, the Landmark Tivoli in St. Louis.

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