Preview by: Jack Foley
A RUSSIAN film that cost under $4 million to make has been described
by Empire magazine as 'the most vital genre flick since The
Matrix' in its round-up of the Summer's must-see movies.
Night Watch is a vampire flick directed by Timur Bekmambetov
which stars Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina and Vladimir
It's due for a UK release on June 3 and has already gone down
a storm in Russian cinemas, where its breathtaking perspective
on the genre is already attracting the attention of Hollywood
(who look primed for a remake).
The plot centres around the breaking of a centuries-old truce
between the forces of good and evil which prompts supernatueral
beings to slug it out on the streets of modern-day Moscow.
The film is the first part of a trilogy (is anyone thinking Matrix
or Blade?) and has already
prompted a sequel, Chalk of Fate, which is currently filming.
US distributor, Fox Searchlight,
which champions a lot of independent movies and which has distribution
rights, is then hoping to shoot the third and final part in English.
The supernatural forces in question are, according to Empire,
The Others (vampires), some of which are good (The Night Watch)
and some of whom are bad (The Day Watch).
Their battle is choreographed in spectacular fashion, thereby
putting a lot of run-of-the-mill Hollywood fodder to shame.
Needless to say, the Russians are tremendously proud, particularly
given the buzz surrounding it.
Co-screenwriter, Sergei Lukyanenko, who wrote the best-selling
fantasy novels behind the movie, told Empire that he had conceived
a notion of 'twilight as a battlefield for magicians living around
us' who fight their battle without disturbing human beings.
The film took a record-breaking domestic $15 million cume in
Russian cinemas and was described by Variety as a 'Russian-made
pic that displays pro technique and visual imagination on a par
with Hollywood frighteners, but with a distinctive Slavic accent'.