End of Watch
Running Time: 109 minutes
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick
Directed By: David Ayer
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Two young LAPD cops are on the rise in the department until they reach a little too far into the wrong criminals circle.
One of my buddies took his grandmother to see this movie in theatre. I thought sitting next to my mom watching the film Knocked Up was bad. So he wins the battle of awkward watches until I can watch the movie Hysteria with my great grandmother in theatre. Anyways End of Watch is the story of two young LAPD officers who are partners and best friends. It follows them through their daily lives and police shifts until they encounter criminals that are way above their level.
Filmed as a documentary this movie is both raw and gritty in scope and design. While I don’t see the need to have all the cameras and their angles explained to us, it is no doubt the right call for this movie. The movie starts and it introduces us to the two young police officers Taylor and Zavala. They are involved in a high speed pursuit and it gets the adrenaline pumping. The film then settles down into a slower paced watch as we follow them around in their daily lives. It basically combines a drama with the most super intense episode of COPS ever. The film is cool in so many aspects and although the movie is super exaggerated in the calls they answer. It is offset by all the down time the two of them spend together in their patrol car. It is this flip flopping from their personal conversations to them dealing with criminals that you will really get into this movie. One minute they are discussing Zavala’s wife or Taylor’s girlfriend, and then the next moment they are answering a domestic disturbance. The next moment they are talking about having children, and then they are pulling over a suspicious vehicle. The film is brilliant in it always is building the two of them up through their friendship and through their success at arresting violent criminals.
This film wouldn’t have been half as good if Taylor and Zavala were not played so well by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena respectively. Their banter and easy friendship is so polished that you start to buy into their performances early on. They go from super friendly to deadly professional in the drop of a hat. Their rising status in the police force only bolsters their aura of invincibility, and their familiar conversations only bolster their human element. The two of them have a police officer bromance that is great to watch. The casting decided to go with unknown actors as the criminal element and it was the right call. The authenticity factor is way up there with real looking people from the street. Haggard looking crack addicts and tattooed gang members makes the areas the officers patrol super menacing.
Just a warning the film is alarmingly violent and bloody. Fist fights, gun shots, and drive bys are infused liberally with multiple cases of murder. Personally I thought it added to the story but they do not leave anything to the imagination. The camera work that I mentioned before is incredible. It switches from cameras on the patrol car, to a handheld camera carried by Taylor, and finally to camera pinned to their shirts. The cameras switch constantly and even flip to POV style as the cops round corners with their guns drawn. The two cops always seem to be in the right place at the right time. Their stock in the department rises but when you start poking a dragon it is going to wake sometime. In their daily beats and constant meddling with the criminal element, Taylor and Zavala uncover something way over their heads. Do they have the smarts to lay low and survive the hornets’ nest they have stirred up? Watch it to find out.
Writer and Director David Ayer has a spotty resume (Harsh Times, Street Kings) but he gets it right with this film in all aspects. It is slow at times and the story is over exaggerated but that is the only complaint I really had about this film. You will really care about what happened to these two police officers because the casting was spot on. The films documentary style makes it feel like you are on a ride-along with the cops as they bust criminals. The violence is real, the criminals believable, and the body count high which makes it one intense ride.
I give this movie a recommendation but please do not watch it with your Nana.
T Factor + If you like violent crime movies then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like cop movies then this could score higher on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Training Day, Pride and Glory.