Night Watch

Night Watch (Ночной дозор) is a 2004 Russian urban fantasy film. It is based on the book of the same name by Sergei Lukyanenko (Сергей Лукьяненко). The book—it is the first in a series of six so far—was published in 1998 and has become a Russian, and then global, phenomenon. It is about a secondary world that exists in tandem with the world we know, in which creatures called the Others live. They are quasi-humans with supernatural abilities of various sorts, among them vampires, leading Night Watch to sometimes be thought of as the Russian Twilight. The focus is more on the battle between good and evil than romance, though (with no disrespect to Twilight). The main premise of the series is that the Others are divided into the Light, or Night Watch, and the Dark, or Day Watch. The first book focuses on Anton Gorodetsky (Антон Городецкий), a new member of the Night Watch, and the adventures he finds himself in.

The film has more or less the same very complicated plot as the first book, focusing on the Night Watch’s attempts to maintain the balance between good and evil in their world. It takes place in Moscow, the city with the most powerful Night Watch.

Reviews are almost irrelevant when it comes to a film like this—it set a new record for ticket sales, and the film is often referred to as “the first Russian blockbuster.” For what it’s worth, it doesn’t have spectacular reviews from critics or viewers, but it did all right. It was strongly praised for its visual effects, especially its CGI but also its filming overall, and criticized for its difficult-to-follow plot. It was nominated for five Golden Eagles but only won one, for Best Sound Direction. In 2006, a separate version of the film was released for wider release, with some notable changes from the original version.

There is a sequel, Day Watch (Дневной дозор), released in 2005, and a third is planned.

 

Director: Timur Bekmambetov (Тимур Бекмамбетов)
Stars: Konstantin Zhabenskiy (Константин Хабенский), Vladimir Menshov (Владимир Меньшов), Viktor Verzhbitskiy (Виктор Вержбицкий), Mariya Poroshina (Мария Порошина), Galina Tyunina (Галина Тюнина), Dmitriy Martynov (Дмитрий Мартынов), Aleksey Chadov (Алексей Чадов)
Production company: Bazelevs Productions, Perviy Kanal, Tabbak
Box office take: $16 million in Russia, $33.95 million worldwide

Find Night Watch on Amazon

 

Official trailer:

Find Night Watch on Amazon

 

Night Watch

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.