Home > BBC2, review > Review – The Night Watch

Review – The Night Watch

My mind was soaked in trepidation before watching this. Anything set in early/mid 20th century Britain makes me half-expect it to be some superficial story set around a series of irreverent, off-putting and quite vivid sexual encounters between characters that are too lacking in real depth to make me care about them. Many a time these sort of books/adaptations are designed solely to portray relationships between people and the people adapting the book for television don’t realise that going too far into that relationship makes the production look cheap and squalid. Good stories can be told involving rich characters without the use of.. explicit scenes. Boy I am trying to be diplomatic.

The Night Watch is absolutely about the intimate relationships between the characters. There were two scenes of a sexual nature in the first twelve minutes and the film never ceased giving me the sense that there might be another just around the corner. This left me feeling uneasy. Well, that maybe too strong a way of putting it. I never lost the feeling that something was going to happen that I would class as annoying, that might be a better way of putting it.

Putting aside ‘relationship’ stuff. The design of this was another point of contention for me. Showing stuff, then  flashing or rewinding the timeline to show how the background of the situations came to be, is a storytelling device that annoys the heck out of me. It is just a method writers use in trying to make ordinary television look creative. If the writing of a television production is of a high standard then it shouldn’t need to do things like this. The fact The Night Watch has flashbacks is indicative of camouflage. A piece of coal in fancy Christmas wrapping is still a rubbish present.

Very prominently throughout this were austere colour tones. Occasionally, a phone box or telephone box popped up and sunglasses were needed.

The show does its best to be as good as it can be but it never reaches any dizzy heights. As someone who has never read the book, this TV version was never anything more than maybe interesting at any time.

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Categories: BBC2, review
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