As a passenger plane flies over Moscow, a bird is sucked into the turbine. The engine flames up and rattles. A screw falls from the engine mount, plummets through the air and lands on the steel grating of an building's air duct. There, crows peck at it until it wedges through the grate, tumbles through the vents, into a woman's apartment and—plop!—into her coffee.
This inventive and well-shot scene from Russian action thriller Night Watch is impressive and visually stunning. But I don't know why it's in the movie. Is it yet another indicator that this cursed woman is having a really bad day? Does it show the effect of seemingly random events? Is it just a unique scene transition? Or is it there merely because it's cool?
A consistent lack of clarity is the biggest thing working against the imaginative, gritty and frantic Night Watch. Based on the popular Russian book trilogy by Sergey Lukyanenko, this first installment explains the unseen existence of Others, an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers, who are divided into two sides: the Light Others and the Dark Others. The two sides (comprised of Others like witches, vampires, shape-shifters, seers, etc.) have been at war for eons. However, the open warring between the sides ended a thousand years ago when each side's leaders, the Light General Gesser and Dark General Zavulon, created a treaty that gave the night to the Dark forces and the day to the Light forces. They also agreed that no Other can be forced to join a side; he or she must choose a side.
That much of the plot is clear. Other side plots, prophecies and specifics are a bit harder to grasp. For instance, there's something called "the gloom" in Night Watch. Apparently this is an important concept ...