Eye For Film >> Movies >> Night Watch (2005) Film Review
Reviewed by: George Williamson
For the Buenos Aires underclass their are only two ways of existing: scavenging through bins and refuse, or selling your body to the highest bidder. Victor chooses the latter and, as a handsome young man, isn't doing too badly, even able to deal drugs on the side for extra profit. He gets protection from one of his clients and steals money from another, but on November 2nd - the Day of the Dead - events become a little stranger than usual.
Night Watch follows Victor (Gonzalo Heredia), a young hustler, walking the streets of the Argentinian capital, meeting several tricks and dealing drugs to various clients. He is the quintessential handsome young turk, working the streets for everything he can get, and we shadow him into various nefarious encounters: lascivious gyms full of affluent middle-aged businessmen, hotel rooms with visiting diplomats and through the transvestite district - where one corkscrew-haired transexual offers "$100 to bugger Thatcher."
In the darkest part of the night Victor sees a strange thing happen on the street - a man is flung beneath the wheels of a speeding truck by his partner and is crushed to death. Shortly afterwards he is greeted by an old friend - and lover - that he thought was long since dead. Thus begins a series of meetings with figures from his past and as drugs kick in and Victor begins to tire, things blur and his own mortality is brought into question.
The bleak urban setting resembles that from an early Scorsese movie - aided by Victor's resemblance to a young Robert De Niro - and has the washed out look, traced with headlights and drowning in loose garbage, of Seventies New York rather than the Buenos Aires of Wong Kar Wei's Happy Together. Heredia is fresh and perfectly cast as the hyperactive rent boy and his vital energy really pushes the film along, making up for the fairly ordinary cinematography and shaky camera work. The sex scenes are graphic but not pornographic, handled carefully and, on one occasion, romatically. The only major disappointment is the questionable tangential turn into a more ghostly plot. It does set Night Watch apart from other cinematic portrayals of male prostitution, but the film manages fine with its story of Victor's life before resorting to this strange gimmick that detracts from the gritty feel and cheapens the movie somewhat.
Night Watch could have been a classic to rival Midnight Cowboy, or Night Hawks, but the supernatural twist reduces it to being merely good.Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2005
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