Saturday, June 30, 2007

Movie Review: Day Watch -- Russian Vampires

Finally got to see Day Watch after a few failed attempts. Caught it at the Laurelhurst theater before it finally disappeared off Portland's big screens. [of all the trailers, the one intended for American audiences works best I think, I grabbed it for you -- American Trailer.]

First, the grade -- A-. Absolutely watchable, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

There is a bit more "hollywood polish" to this movie over the first one in the series. It had much more of a budget and in certain circumstances it shows. But overall, it has a very similar feel to the first movie -- just downright weird. My basic positive reaction to the movie comes from it's utterly original depiction of magic. Everyday objects are used to enormous effect -- like an old-fashioned flash camera to stop time. And you never know who has what magical skill or ability, so you just have to suspend disbelief or continuity and watch. It gives the film, even this one with Hollywood backing, a wonderful unpredictable quality.

Plot-wise, this movie was more predictable than the first, but in my mind not debilitating so. I do get so tired of hackneyed plot lines and timing. There is a romantic interest worked up in this movie that makes some aspects of the storyline more predictable than the first. But when a "big kiss" scene does show up, and you are about to cringe in expectation of the Hollywoodness of the thing -- they immediately switch to an over-the-top camping up of the scene which got the whole audience in the theater laughing.

As with the first one, this movie had a lot more to do with magic and intrigue and politicking between the different factions than it did actual vampirism. Not much blood sucking going on. Which is fine by me.

Cinematically it also showed a lot of consistency with the first movie. It is gritty, sometimes overexposed, colorful and unpredictable. Weird shaky camera techniques are used and manage to keep it fresh but not overwhelm the viewer. The fashion is over the top, many of the stunts are over the top, and it all seems to fit together in a cohesive look. I personally enjoy this director's style, even if it can get a bit overwhelming at times. It's worth it in my book.

So, if you are at all interested in horror movies (which it's not), magic (has plenty of), vampires (barely shown as such, but there and classy in a post-modern way) or just action movies (plenty) then see it. And, if you get a chance, let me know what you think I'll be curious.


andy said...

Netflixed (unfortunately, it may be awhile before it's available). To tide me over, I requested the prequel.

Bpaul said...

Yeah, you really won't be able to make much sense of the movie without #1. Good call. Shouldn't be long before it's out of DVD, it's in art houses and 2nd-run type theaters already in Portland.

Muse said...

OH OH I forgot about this movie! Thanks for the reminder. :)

I am not going to read your post, I don't know if there are spoilers, and I want to see it myself. Will respond again after watching!

Bpaul said...

No spoilers hun, no worries :-)


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