Night Watch (Nochnoy dozor)

The “Others” are humans who possess supernatural abilities, such as seers, vampires, and shapeshifters. Each one must choose whether they are on the side of Dark, or Light. The forces of Light and Darkness called a truce many hundreds of years ago, because they found that they were completely evenly matched. Now, in modern-day Russia, agents of both sides (the Night Watch and Day Watch) enforce an uneasy peace.

The film follows Anton Gorodetsky, a seer whose talent first manifested itself when he tried to make a bargain with a sorceress to make his unfaithful wife return to him. Now, eleven years later, he works for the Night Watch (the side of Light) in tracking down newly emerging Others. On one mission he inadvertently kills a dark Other (against the rules), an event which precipitates a race to find the Chosen One, who will finally tip the balance between the sides, and herald the final battle.

Pretty standard stuff in terms of its mythology, but the film’s attraction lies in the way it is executed. The setting is plain and unglamorous, the heroes aren’t rugged and good-looking, and you relatively few supernatural occurrences are shown on screen. Unusual camera moves and a series of wide-ranging and seemingly disconnected plot elements create a sense of uncertainty right up until the end. It’s the first episode in a trilogy, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of it turns out.