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Thu March 2, 2006
A mixed bag of horrors.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
I'm quite sure the forces of evil, the dark side, are the inventors of the quick cut, immortalized by MTV and nurtured by every action director who can keep the film moving fast and not bother about the accuracy of the images: because you can't see anything in the blur. Such is the blinding pace of Timur Bekmambetov's Night Watch, not too different from the rapid images of Matrix and Underworld, and scores of other low-key, plot heavy sci-fi thrillers.
Like Star Wars, Night Watch is simple in thematic design: The dark forces of evil face off in epic battle around a new savior, in both cases young boys who make a choice between the two worlds. Believe me when I tell you Star Wars is like a child's allegory compared to the intricate but intellectually starving design of Night Watch, a film I would see again not because, like Matrix, it calls for further analysis, but because it is so turgidly arcane as to demand plot clarification from further viewing.
What I do know is a young boy who feels The Call is pulled toward the vampires, who apparently buddy up with the Others (the central characters in Night Watch). The chief vamp, working for Light (Good), tries to save the young savior from the vamps of Darkness because whichever the boy chooses will rule for one long time. I'm tired just trying to tell you about it.
Curiously, this mixed bag of horrors is a major hit in Russia, with the second installment of the trilogy already popular like the first. The imperfect subtitles alone should turn away most intolerant American viewers. I'm done; Night Watch has ruined enough of my night already.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com