Movies / Movie Reviews


By Al Kratina
March 4, 2006 - 12:32

The First Chapter in a Three Part Pontiac Campaign.
I never thought I’d look back fondly on the days where movies looked like music videos. Fast paced editing, ridiculously over-used slow motion, and two out of every three scenes set in a night-club or strip joint; all these are trademarks of either a 50 Cent video or a Michael Bay movie. However, apparently the average film-goer’s attention span has dipped below the picosecond mark, forcing massive amounts of information to be transmitted in the space between eye-blinks. Consequently, every movie now looks like a two hour car commercial directed by Tony Scott.

Nightwatch is Russia’s answer to Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, a massive, multi-part fantasy epic set in modern day Moscow, populated by characters rejected from Vampire: The Masquerade rule-books. The premise, however, is intriguing. A war has ranged for millennia between the forces of light and dark—wait, that doesn’t sound intriguing, that sounds familiar, like a sitcom about a dysfunctional family. However, where it goes from there is interesting. A truce has been struck, and two supernatural police forces have been created, each intended to keep the other side’s forces in line. The titular Nightwatch is charged with keeping the vampires and werewolves from causing too much trouble. Of course, there’s a prophecy, and a child who will become the chosen one, because apparently every fantasy story is the Bible with elves.

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the film is extremely stylized, almost a parody of American filmmaking without a sense of irony. The subtitles bleed and move around the screen, motion changes speeds on a dime, and there’s a lot of sound and fury to distract from plot holes and internal inconsistencies. Still, ultimately the film is quite entertaining. The performers are engaging, and it maintains a darker tone missing from most recent fantasy fare. But though it requires too much attention to be mere eye-candy, it’s a little too silly to be taken seriously. For viewers looking for a little more depth in their car commercials, however, this might be the perfect film.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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