Sunday, July 30, 2006

Movie: Nightwatch

NPR had a nice review, saying this Russian-made film based on the science fiction novels of Sergei Lukyanenko is a horror movie with effects like The Matrix and some unusual plots. They’re right. The special effects are not only good – lots of the “bullet time” of stop-action that you see in Matrix for example – but they actually add to the story.

The basic idea is that the world is full of “Others”, otherwise normal-looking people who have been born with special powers. These Others are divided into two warring factions, Good and Evil, with the world basically at peace because of a truce whereby the factions agree never to force a new Other to one side or the other—everyone must choose for him- or herself. The truce is alternately enforced by good Others at night (Nightwatch) and bad Others during the day (Daywatch).

The story would be hard to follow except the special effects help you see the otherwise ordinary world through the eyes of the Others, with battles everywhere until the climatic ending.

This is one of those films that I’m glad I saw just for cultural reasons: it's Russia's highest-grossing film. It’s new and original enough that I’m sure I’ll hear about it in conversation with somebody someday and it would be very difficult to explain without seeing.

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