All that stands between light, And darkness is the Night Watch.
Night Watch (Nochnoy Dozor (2004) is a fantastic, supernatural action film set in present-day Moscow and based on the first book in the “Watch” book series by Russian novelist Sergei Lukyanenko. Just as in the book, the film features two opposing forces, the Light Ones, and the Dark Ones, both of whom agreed over a thousand years ago–to avoid the destruction of both of their armies. However, the forces must monitor each other in a system of checks and balances to prevent either side from breaking the truce. Two divisions formed: the Day Watch, composed of the Dark Ones, and the Night Watch, the overseeing team of the Light Ones.
In 1992, Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky) answered an ad in the paper from a witch to reunite with his wife who had recently divorced him. But on one condition: the which informed him that she was pregnant, and the child had to be killed to destroy her new marriage. Before the spell could be completed, members of the Night Watch intervened and saved the young child. They realized Anton could see them, therefore, an Other.
Ten years later, Anton is now a member of the Night Watch under Gesser’s (Vladimir Menshov)–the leader of the Light Ones–command. One night on assignment, he sees a woman with a vortex of damnation above her head. Gesser informs him that she is the cursed Virgin, and her reemergence into the world is a sign that the Final Battle may come. Zavulon (Viktor Verzhbitsky), the leader of the Dark Ones, is planning to take advantage of this as he awaits the Great One to reveal themselves to decide the fate of the world.
Night Watch is a deliciously complex feature–the entire film is worthy of its very necessary, 2-hour presentation. Two story lines are occurring almost simultaneously, involving both the Virgin and the Great One. This was the first blockbuster film Khabensky starred in (although the actor was previously well-known in the theater and television circles), his performance gives no sign of naivety to the big screen. Even more fascinating, Night Watch, produced with a small budget of $4.2 million and is considered to be one of the first Russian blockbusters after the Soviet Union’s collapse. The film grossed over $33+ million worldwide! The special effects are spectacular, and the city of Moscow took on an impressive supernatural appeal.
Overall Bekmambetov’s Night Watch is a serious film. The theatrical adaptation may not be entirely accurate. However, fans of the “Watch” book series, or any fan of supernatural cinema may want to check this one out.