Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day Watch

Day Watch proved much more entertaining than Night Watch with Timur Bekmambetov having much more fun with the premise.  It was like he had brought The Master and Margarita up to the present replete with a final ball scene, with a veritable who's who of Russian entertainment stars, that would have made Bulgakov proud.  It was certainly a much more spirited supernatural thriller than that which Bortko made of the Bulgakov classic the same year (2006).

I liked the idea of the magic chalk from Samarkand and the ability to rewrite the present, resulting in a fitting end to this wild and crazy ride through modern-day Moscow.  Timur has a great sense of timing, knowing when to bring the chalk into the action and how to use it to great effect.  We all would like to have a chalk like this to break down the walls of our "reality" and recast them as they were before everything went south, which is very much the case in this movie.

Anton is much more compelling this time around than he was in Night Watch.  Partly, because Konstantin Khabenski better inhabits the role, and also because there is a greater emotional investment in the character as he is forced to choose between a son he wants to reclaim and a fellow "other" he finds himself drawn toward.  The final ballroom scene is played out beautifully.

Viktor Verzhbitski plays a more prominent role as the dark lord, Zavulon, in this film, not much unlike Voland in The Master and Margarita.  His lovely concubine, Alisa, is played to great effect by Zhanna Friske.   Olga also figures more heavily into this film, played by the very appealing Galina Tyunina, especially when she and Anton are forced to change bodies to elude the dark forces.

My only criticism is that there isn't enough contact between the "others" and ordinary people, rather these "others" appear to live in a separate reality playing out their thousand year war.

I'm not sure where Timur plans to get next with this story.  There has been talk of a third part, Dusk Watch, but he got sidetracked with a number of other projects ranging from an update of Irony of Fate to an Angelina Jolie vehicle, Wanted, to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer.  It's tough when you become hot property.  Everybody wants a piece of you.

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