Review: Nightwatch (2005)
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Films
Along with reviewing new theatrical and straight to video releases for Legends of Horror, I will also be reviewing bargain bin finds. The only rules for these reviews are that it looks like a horror related movie at first glance and that I find a copy of it for about five bucks or less. This gives me an excuse to review good movies that you might have missed and can add to your collection cheap. More importantly, this will give me a chance to belittle crappy movies that came out before I started these reviews.
The best thing to come out of Russia since……………… actually, this might be the first time they got something right.
Some of you might argue with the title of my review with the acceptable response of “What about Vodka”. But since I can’t stand that crap I can easily say that this film by director Timur Bekmambetov is the greatest import I have ever witnessed from a country that I previously only knew for communism and Milla Jovovich.
The movie centers on an ancient balance of “Others”. There are Light Others that represents good, they make up the Nightwatch. And there are Dark Others that represent evil making up the Daywatch. Others consist of a weird mix of vampires, shape shifters, witches, and many more. Because of a truce that came about in the medieval times the two sides are forced to live side by side until the one will come that is more powerful than everyone else that starts the war and tips the balance. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. This sounds like nothing more than describing a movie that rips off the plot points of Matrix, Underworld, and even a little Star Wars. In the hands of a less capable director that’s all this would have been, but Bekmambetov makes this his own. It would have been easy to focus on nothing but action, he could have easily moved things along quicker sacrificing the overall story to get to the next fight sequence. It’s the same formula that has always worked for big budget horror and science fiction films and those movies are generally fun to watch. They’re also generally bad movies by critic’s standards. But Bekmambetov took a risk instead, he slowed the pace down a lot, and gave you less fighting than you thought you were going to get from the movies setup, and instead focused on storytelling with a strong plot. The result was nothing short of brilliant.
Also my hat goes off to Russian actor Konstantin Khabensky who did an excellent job as Anton, the main “Other” in the movie. The emotion he conveyed as the movie starts to progress really makes you care about his character in a way that you don’t usually get in a Sci-fi/Horror epic. The rest of the cast turned in strong performances as well, but for the sake of not typing out all of their long ass names I won’t list them.
This was a near perfect epic movie. What would it have been like to watch the Lord of the Rings if the pacing was faster and the movies weren’t all an hour too long? How wonderful would it have been to watch Underworld if the producers would have added a little more horror and suspense to it? How could we ever question if God loved us or not if we could have seen the brilliant effects and innovative concept of the Matrix without us having to deal with the “acting ability” of Keanu Reeves. This movie makes me feel like I am living all of these dreams at once.
Good story, acting, directing, effects, and just the right balance of horror, action, suspense, sci-fi, while never taking away from plot and character development. This is one of the most solid movies I have had the pleasure of witnessing in a long time. I really suggest watching this movie soon before they make the inevitable bastardized American version where they trade in quality film-making for a larger budget and attractive people with no talent. It will probably star Ben Affleck.
Rating: 9 of 10
Review Done By: Vincent Jerusalem