Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
... and would have done so earlier, actually, except I did something I rarely do with people who submit something to the site: I asked him to take a second look at the piece. I told him that I thought his first review was, perhaps, a bit on the too-irritated side. He didn’t just write angry... he wrote seething. He was like Capone on the stairs in UNTOUCHABLES, and I thought he might want to take it down a notch if given an additional 24 hours to contemplate it. I think Cbabbitt's a genuinely good writer about his passion for film, and I told him he might better articulate his thoughts if he weren't so incensed at the filmmakers on a personal level.
So here’s what he submitted to me the second time:
“Turn it off...turn it off....TURN IT OFF!!!!!!”
Night Watch is the newest foray into kinetic idiocy made by arguably the most obnoxious and useless director working in contemporary foreign film. Here’s a film so inept and unoriginal, the filmmakers decided the only possible way to tell a coherent, entertaining story is to mimic Tony Scott, but multiply his frenetic nonsense by ten. Which is to say, Night Watch is absolutely incoherent, reprehensible, and worthless. This is a story written by people without a concept of storytelling, filmmaking by a team without a concept of film. This is a painful, painful experience.
What exactly is the Night Watch? It’s a horribly convoluted concept of vampires, creatures, witches, and other supernatural figures living in a truce between the forces of good and evil. There was an ancient war between the leader of “Light” and the leader of “Darkness” - so bloody and disgusting (not to mention incomprehensible) that the leader of “Light” decided to end it by calling a truce of coexistence. These two powerful leaders reign over supernatural beings called, “Others”, and decided to provide them with the choice of being good or evil. This story deals with the universal conflict of choice, a theme so narrowly explored in Night Watch it becomes embarrassing. The mere mention of choice isn’t deep enough to add emotional and philosophical complexity to a story. Emotional resonance is found through the exploration of characters and themes, something completely lost in Night Watch. The “Others” have a choice once they realize they possess special powers and needs, which is proposed as simply as this: “You want to be good or bad?” Simplicity like this is neither charming nor sensible. Night Watch takes itself far too seriously, leading me to believe that the filmmakers actually think the mythology they brought to life is deep and profound. It’s not.
The Night Watch are the “light”, who protect the world from evil minions of darkness by making laws that the “Day Watch” have to obey. If a dark “other” indulges in his depravity, like say, wants to feed on human blood, the Night Watch destroy them. If a dark “other” just lives peacefully by the code, he or she is considered harmless. In fact, many of the good “others” and friends with the bad “others”. The Night Watch are sort of a supernatural police force that keep everything in check. Of course, this universe of supernatural entities and demonic powers has a prophecy, and while it unfortunately involves way too many characters for me to have the patience to discuss, it still results in the painfully obvious: A special “other” will come along and unbalance the truce by choosing the side of evil, thus bringing forth the apocalypse.
A particularly mindless “other” named Anton Gorodetsky is a pivotal key to this prophecy since he’s basically responsible for it. Anton did a dirty thing in 1992 by making a deal with a witch to stop his wife’s baby from being born using black magic. During the process, he realized how despicable his sin would be and was thankfully saved by the Night Watch. The fate of his wife was uncertain (Well, that’s what we’re supposed to think). Anton is faced with the ultimate question, good or evil, and he obviously chooses the side of good. Twelve years later, Anton works as a Night Watch, killing uncooperative vampires, wondering about the fate of the child, and being a genuine scumbag. I can’t remember the last time a fantasy movie had such a tedious and consistently unpleasant lead. The character is paper thin, and the actor unfortunately lacks the charisma needed to garner an emotional attachment of any kind. Shockingly, a twelve year old boy with special powers is being lured by the forces of evil, and Anton is sent to help him. The boy is obviously the prophetic “other” and it’s obviously Anton’s child. I can’t emphasize how predictable this movie is. Night Watch is based on a novel, and one can only hope it’s a loose adaptation. The story is so muddled, obvious, and overwrought, it would be plain bizarre if it were faithful to the source. Nothing this poorly written could ever be published.
This movie is an editing nightmare.
I loathe frenetic, chaotic nonsense, especially when it serves absolutely no purpose. The stylistic choices in Night Watch are so distracting and irritating it becomes mind-numbing. Every image is altered with a flashy, pointless visual effect that’s disorienting enough to induce a seizure. It’s terribly disjointing, making it perfectly clear that all traces of a real filmmaker are non-existent. It’s so distracting, I gave up on following the story because I simply didn’t care anymore. The noise is even worse. Night Watch is loud, abrasive, and aggressive. Everything is ear-piercing and unpleasant. The combination of nauseating camera work and torturous noise makes for a horribly disgusting experience.
Night Watch is pitiful.