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DAY WATCH

SYNOPSIS:
The ancient war between the forces of Light and Darkness is reaching a tragic outcome. Each side has gained a powerful Great Other, who are headed for a clash, and Moscovite Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky) is once again caught up in the midst of this conflict. On one side is Anton's young son, Yegor (Dima Martynov), who has joined the ranks of the Dark Others, while the woman he loves, Svetlana (Mariya Poroshina), is the hope of the Light. But that's just the beginning of his troubles: Anton is on the run after having been accused of murder. Perhaps the ancient Chalk of Fate can save the day. But the magical Chalk was lost hundreds of years ago...

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
As ornate as a high class Russian samovar, Day Watch continues the battle between Light and Dark in Timur Bekmambetov's unmistakable high octane fashion. The embodiments of the ancient forces look like many Muscovites, which can range from slobby day wear through colourful furry coats to major bling bling. These 'ordinary' Russians are propelled into this eternal struggle in a variety of ways from simple cars through heavy duty trucks, sometimes involving spectacular stunts. One early stunt involves a zupped up red street car zig zagging at speed through traffic and then speeding across the façade of a large building and into its passageway, finally coming to stop in a meeting room for a confrontation.

And this is not the biggest stunt or most spectacular FX. Day Watch is crammed with visual stimulation, sensational effects in both the real world and the metaphysical one of the story. For instance, a climactic 'eve of destruction' sequence in which all of Moscow starts to disintegrate raises the bar for urban annihilation FX. Coupled with a powerful sound design and Bekmambetov's trademark shock-cut editing, these stylistic mannerisms drive the film's incessant pace. We follow in its wake, though not always following the story. Fast and freaky, Day Watch is full of novelty value, which is what makes it interesting. So do some of the weird characters who inhabit this world that sits within but apart from the real Moscow.

Bekmambetov also throws caution to the wind in other respects; for one sequence, Anton (Konstantin Khabensky) has to switch bodies with a female associate, a ruse which is used for unexpected comedic business. But it doesn't hugely add to the film's overall success in terms of the plot. Still, the film has such ruthless energy and self belief, it almost doesn't matter, especially as we really get to like Svetlana (Mariya Poroshina).

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

DAY WATCH (MA)
(Russia, 2006)

Dnevnoi Dozor

CAST: Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Vladimir Menshov, Valery Zolotukhin, Galina Tunina, Victor Verzhbitsky, Dima Martynov

PRODUCER: Anatoly Maximov, Konstantin Ernst

DIRECTOR: Timur Bekmambetov

SCRIPT: Sergei Lukyanenko, Timur Bekmambetov, Alexander Talal (novel by Sergei Lukyanenko, Vladimir Vasiliev)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Sergei Trofimov

EDITOR: Dmitri Kiselev

MUSIC: Yuri Poteyenko

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Valery Victorov, Mukhtar Mirzakeyev, Nikolay Ryabtsev

RUNNING TIME: 140 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 18, 2007







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