Friday, August 31, 2007

Night Watch

I finally saw this 2004 Russian film (originally called Nochnoy dozor) after hearing a lot of good things about it. It's an epic tale of the war between good and evil supernatural beings (known as the Others) that recalls films such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Matrix and Underworld. It's quite an exciting fantasy thriller, though the plot is pure nonsense.

As far as I can tell it's about a good Other called Anton (who is unsympathetically introduced trying to get a witch to kill his lover's unborn child when he learns it isn't his) who joins the Night Watch (the group whose mission is to make sure the evil Others obey an uneasy truce). The film has some neat twists on established mythology - the vampires can be seen in mirrors even when they are invisible to the eye.

Anton has an apocalyptic vision of a girl who turns out to be the "Virgin" who will bring about the final conflict between light and dark and cause the deaths of millions at the same time (can't trust those virgins). While the Night Watch try and find out more about her, Anton also discovers a boy with a connection to him after he saves him from a vamp attack (there's a neat moment where he shatters a vamp to pieces after it is bathed in ultraviolet light).

The ending leaves the door open for a trilogy, the first sequel of which has already been released. Overall it's quite an achievement, especially considering the minuscule $4 million budget, though admittedly some of the CG effects do have a rather cheesy video game-like quality. The action scenes are stylish and original (at one point the big bad takes a sword out of his spine) and the performances are fine. The version I watched was the international one (it features a cool Buffy the Vampire Slayer cameo on a TV screen at one point) so I can't comment on the original Russian cut. But I'd recommend it for anyone who wants to see the Russian take on an imaginary cinema blockbuster.

The Mist trailer

There's finally a trailer for Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist. The novella has always been one of my favourites and the film looks pretty good so far, though it's hard to judge the quality of the effects in crappy Yahoo streaming video. Hopefully it'll rank up there with Darabont's other King movies, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.