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NIGHT WATCH (2004)

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NIGHT WATCH (2004)

Friday, 27 September 2013 16:07

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Written by 

The Buzz:

        Superhuman “Others” live among us, split between the forces of Light and Darkness. Long ago during a great battle between the two forces, a truce was struck so that neither force could directly influence the mortal world. Each side would patrol the other; the Light setup the Night Watch, and the side of Dark set up the Day Watch, each making sure the other didn't break the truce.

 

Life of the Party:

        Much the same as Biggs pointed out in his review of The Replacement Suspect, we here at Tanked Matinee love foreign cinema, and the peak in gives us into other cultures and styles of film making. And Night Watch is no exception. Made in Russia, and based on a Russian novel, Night Watch is (for us American audiences anyway) a really different and imaginative piece of fantasy adventure/horror/mystery-thriller.

        The story centers on Anton, who discovers he is an “Other,” and joins the Night Watch. One night during a Vampire hunt something goes terribly wrong, which threatens to restart the war that the truce brought to an end a thousand years before. And meanwhile a prophecy of the end-times is taking shape around them, and the Night Watch is in a race against the clock to save the world.

        Yes we've seen many other similar story-lines, but the way the story takes shape around our characters and conveys itself to the audience is wonderfully new and refreshing compared to the same-old cliches of American cinema. The action is decent, and the special effects are pulled off competently in an almost comic-book-esque style that I find appropriate.

 

Potential Hangovers:

        There are some flaws however. For one thing, the version available on Netflix is apparently the American edit, which is confusing as hell sometimes. There's a lot of missing information, or cases where our version has bits edited out that you apparently need to make sense of some of the events that happen (won't go into any real detail, don't want to spoil it for you). And while by the end of the film you can sort of back-track and piece it all together, it does provide for some head-scratching while you try to figure out just what the hell is going on. I want to find an original version of the film, because the version we got is so disjointed and confusing that it takes away a lot of what made this film great to me.

        My other gripe is that there's a repeated scene/theme of this medieval battle on a bridge between the forces of good & evil. And in my mind, these should be the coolest damn scenes in the film; you have knights and barbarians and beasts all fighting pell-mell to eliminate each other to the last man, to rid the world of light or darkness once and for all. But the editing during these scenes is so choppy and confusing that it ultimately falls flat. You at many times have no idea which side the warrior on screen is on, but he's only there for a fraction of a second before the next shot, and rinse-repeat.

        Also subtitles. Not so much a negative (as I usually prefer subtitles to dubbed, despite how amusing they can be) as a warning for those who might want to turn this on at a point in the night when y'all are too drunk to read small words that fly across the screen.

 

Sadly, for all the talk of shape-shifters, there's only one very brief instance of it

The Vibe: Casual Gathering, Solo Experience

        Despite its flaws, Night Watch is a really enjoyable film that I highly recommend you watch. It's a new way of viewing a story that we're familiar with (kinda sorta maybe), with some new twists to keep things interesting, and make you want to learn more (I'm even interested now in finding the books, if they've been translated...). Solo with a drink or two is just fine, and as long as the group is fairly small and willing to pay some form of attention that can work as well. Fans of “good vs. evil” and monster stories take note of Night Watch, it'll be worth your time.

 

Drinking Game:

~ Drink every time they say "Dark," "Light," or "Other"

~ Drink every time there's a mosquito in the shot

 

Plus/Minus:

+ A new way to view a classic tale of “good vs. evil”

+ Really enjoyable to watch

- Confusing as all hell at times

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About Us

Tanked Matinee is the place to go for good drinking movies. What do we mean by that? Simply speaking, we evaluate and recommend entertainment media based on how much fun it is to watch with friends on the sofa and a cold beer in hand.

Everyone knows "The Godfather" is a great movie, but is it as great to drink with as "Roadhouse?" We can appreciate "Citizen Kane" as a masterpiece of cinema, but is it as good a centerpiece for your party as "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians?"

Tanked Matinee appreciates film as art, but when you're kicking back on Friday night with a tall Rum & Coke, you're not looking for art, man, you want to be entertained. We're here to recommend the best movies for your night in, whether it's a big party, small get-together, or just a quiet night alone with a bottle of wine or three.

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