Day Watch (Dnevnoy dozor) (Russia/2006)

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Day Watch (Dnevnoy dozor) (Russia/2006)

Postby justindeimen » Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:49 pm


Just as the almighty rubles reared their heads in Russias most successful cinematic import, Day Watch doesnt miss a single beat in its histrionic continuation of 2004s blockbuster hit, Night Watch. It remains a frantic, discombobulated product of Americas cultural hegemony over writer-director Timur Bekmambetov's planned occult fantasy trilogy of the struggle between the forces of the Light and the Dark in modern day Russia. Bekmambetov doesnt merely reuse and rejig the aesthetic and yin-yang philosophical afterglow of Hollywoods own revered trilogies The Matrix, Blade and Star Wars, but confidently infuses post-Soviet subtext and higher-minded allegories that insist that its vampires and witches are nothing more than tenebrous metaphors for desire and clandestine political representation of the subsisting working class and avaricious oligarchs. This elephant in the room works together with the films diseased depiction of the now capitalist den of Moscows surfaces, with the striking colours of its neon billboards oscillating amidst its darkened gothic grays and antiseptic flashes of harsh, austere light.

When we last left Anton (Konstantin Khabensky), he was on the rooftops of downtown Moscows apartment complexes negotiating between his infanticide guilt stemming from a botched mystical abortion and the inevitable guilt festering over the causation of his now teenage hellion son Yegors (Dima Martynov) ascension into the Dark consortiums (the Day Watch) ominously named The Great Other (a derivative of the chosen one), that very convenient wildcard that puts the ball in the court of whoever holds his tenuous confidence. For all its loaded hyper-reality and thaumaturgy involving body-swapping, dimension hopping and the ultimate McGuffin in the Chalk of Fate an ancient artifact that allows its users to revise history and subsequent reverberations the films interest does not lie with the anxieties its society-whelped conjurers partake in, but the prosaic visual spell that it puts itself under.

With a spastic camera matching its hyperactive narrative, it gears into a sort of ritualistic rigour that results in mindless delirium which ends up aggressively overstating its own glibness given the films firmly cogent initial deliberations. Day Watch teeters between its self-consciously wild stylistics and its rehashed brand of cartoon darkness, but its much too lurid to be taken at the gravitas it puts forth, and much too tepid to be experienced as genre excesses.

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