Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Day Watch

directed by Timur Bekmambetov

Day Watch poster  
Like Night Watch, Day Watch begins with an anecdote from history. Tamerlane and his horde are breaking into a fortress to retrieve the Chalk of Fate. This item is supposed to be able to allow anyone to rewrite history, and to fix whatever mistakes they made.

In the present, Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky) is not getting on too well with his new trainee, Svetlana. She's insubordinate, and doesn't take instruction well. But the fact is, she has far stronger powers than he does. They are on the trail of an attacker who has been stabbing people with needles and sucking their essences, a crime that could lead to war. The truce between light and dark Others has never been more fragile.

Dark Others are gathering together, and the Light are afraid they are planning something. When one of the dark Others is killed Anton is accused of her murder. But is he being framed? He tries to go into hiding, and sets off towards the tomb of Tamerlane with the goal of finding the Chalk before justice catches up with him.

As well as being about the epic battle between good and evil, Day Watch us about a very personal struggle. Anton is in love, but at the same time he doesn't want to leave behind his estranged son, Yegor. He feels guilty for the way he's treated Yegor, and for missing out on most of his childhood, but at the same time he wants to move on.

Day Watch is a lot cooler than its predecessor, with less of a grimy, downbeat look. The special effects are more spectacular, with some eye-catching shots of Alisa's crazy driving, amongst other things. But fortunately the effects aren't allowed to overwhelm the story. Although it's an action-packed and occasionally very violent movie, the focus is always on the relationships between the main characters. It's quite a funny movie in places, and full of heart. We warm to Anton because he's not perfect. He's obviously not some kind of superhero, and in some ways he's just a man who tries to be a decent father and makes a poor job of it. He's not the only one who has regrets, so the central question of this film becomes, what would you change, if you had the opportunity?

Considering how grim the first film in this series was, Day Watch adopts a surprisingly feelgood tone. The trailer makes it look like yet another chase-fight-explosion rinse-and-repeat, but in fact it's a lot more subtle than all the action would suggest. This is an entertaining movie with a strong cast and an imaginative, well-crafted story.

Film Details

Year: 2006

Categories: Films


Classification: 15

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5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Timur Bekmambetov

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