My first admission should be that I saw Night Watch about a week ago, and yes I know that if I were going to review it I should have done so already, dammit. But with one thing and another, I've been having a hard time focusing on it.

The thing is, Night Watch sucks. Sucks is maybe too strong a word. Certainly, it's been put together with a great deal of technical competence, and I imagine it must have been a great deal of work for the editor. I imagine this because the film is cut at a pace that I found almost nauseating to follow (one of my favorite movies is Moulin Rouge; I'm no stranger to frantic editing), and also because there is no narrative flow between scenes, and so cutting the film together must have been largely depended upon contextual clues like hair length, the amount of mud on shirts, and the length of shadows.

I regret that I cannot recount the plot of the film. I am certain that one was written, but it is not expressed on screen. The film opens with a lengthy description of a medieval battle between two armies of supernatural humans, the Light and the Darkness. The battle ends in stalemate, and the truce involves the Light forming the Night Watch to police the Darkness, and the Darkness doing the same (only they call themselves Day Watch, naturally, which is the title of the forthcoming sequel. Yes, this is the first in a trilogy, and every grinding moment of exposition makes that painfully hard to ignore). Flash to 1992, when a schlubby Moscow man discovers that he is an Other while asking a witch to abort his girlfriend's lover's child. Flash to 2004, when this man, now a Night Watchman, chases down a child who may or may not be a powerful node of something that would be bad if the Darkness gets him. Cue loud assaultive CGI sequences that don't make any sense.

The mythology isn't so original that I couldn't make sense of it after thinking it over for a few days, although I resent that I had to. So when I say that the film doesn't make any sense, I don't mean that, I mean that the plot itself is a nightmare of dropped threads, leaps of logic and unclear relationships. To name but one example, the hero receives an owl statue from the ruler of the Light, which turns into a live owl, which turns into a woman who is to be the hero's new partner. She promptly disappears for about 40 minutes (maybe it just felt like 40 minutes), and when she returns, the film makes no effort to explain what she's doing or why, but it is extremely necessary that we understand.

I'd never watched a movie that exhausted me physically before, and now I guess that I can mark it off of my "Things To Do Before I Die" checklist.

The opening paragraph of this review was substantially edited in January, 2017, to remove unnecessary and confusing personal context.