Based on the Russian novel series by Sergei Lukyanenko, Night Watch was adapted by Timur Bekmambetov, a Russian Writer/Producer/Director in 2004.
The film follows Anton Gorodetsky, an ‘Other’ who has found himself mixed up in a secret war between other ‘Others’… A battle between Light and Dark. Light ‘Others’ are the Night Watch, sworn to keep the Dark ‘Others’ in check. Likewise, the Dark ‘Others’ are the Day Watch keeping tabs on the Light ‘Others’. Siding with the Night Watch, Anton works as a ‘supernatural police man’ taking down Dark ‘Others’ who defy an ancient truce that keeps the world from falling in to chaos. When he sees a woman on a train with the vortex (an omen that spells the end of the truce and the apocalypse) over her head, he and the others of the Night Watch must stop the Vortex before the truce falls apart and the world plunges in to darkness.
Night Watch is seen as the first Russian Blockbuster since the collapse of the Soviet Film Industry in the late 80’s/early 90’s. With a budget of $4.2 million it was considered high concept until a few years later… now some budgets are over $20 million! Russia’s film industry is expanding greatly since the fall of the iron curtain and it’s directors like Timur Bekmambetov that are helping it along. He is now working in the US as well as Russia, currently directing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and in 2008, Wanted.
Bekmambetov is a very strong sci-fi/fantasy director. In Night Watch it is clear that he draws his ideas and styles of filming from Hollywood productions like The Matrix series. The film felt more hollywood-y rather than a international film but it still felt quite Russian in its culture and character. If you like The Matrix or The Underworld series and don’t mind reading subtitles, (There is a dubbed version, however I do recommend the Russian with Subtitles) definitely see this film.
Night Watch (Nochnoy Dozor) and it’s sequel Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor) are available in most DVD stores.