Friday, 5 October 2007

Daywatch - Review by Carmody Wilson

Director: Timur Bekmambekov
Screenwriter: Timur Bekmambekov & Sergei Lukyanenko
Running Time: 132 mins
Certificate: 15
Released: October 5th

Beginning with an epic quest concerning Tanerlane’s army and ending with something akin to a sigh of relief, Daywatch, the sequel’s sequel, is a dark, clangy, metallic film of surprising richness and texture. What else would you expect from a film franchise known as “Russia’s Matrix”?

Written and directed by Timor Bekmambetov, as was the establishing film Nightwatch, Daywatch is set during the chaotic aftermath of an awesome battle between the forces of light and dark. Anton, (a comically weary and battle scarred Konstantin Khabensky,) is an agent of light working the daywatch with an organization dedicated to keeping the peace. His apprentice is Svetlana, (Mariya Poroshina), the comely agent of light whose powers may be so great as to prove the final defeat of the Dark Ones. But Anton has a very personal reason for not wanting the end to come for the life-sucking vampires of The Gloom-his son is one of them. Doing near-battle with the underhanded leader of the Dark Ones, Zavulon, a gangster in track pants and furs, causes a breach in the truce and Anton has one simple task to prevent all hell from breaking loose-again.

Daywatch is hard to categorize. It’s a relationship drama set in the wintry ruin of post-apocalyptic Moscow which is so stylized as to be bizarre,(a woman drives her car up and alongside a building in her haste to meet her boss), but at times is relaxed and natural as any more banal, less bombastic film dealing with domestic issues. The cartoonish, yet undeniably evil villain plays at fatherhood as he houses Anton’s son Yegor, and is just as likely to tango with someone as murder them-or do both simultaneously. Sveta is gentle, gamine, but vicious in her aims of self-defense and proves the catalyst, in her sudden and unexpected violence, for an act of greater good. It’s a black love story with just as much rubble, grease, vampirism, weaponry, confused gendered comedy and twisted fates that you could ask for. If that’s the Russian Matrix then Neo should run for his life.

No comments: