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End of Watch keeps it real
Friday 30 November 2012, 05:17PM
Approx. 109 minutes Rated: R Director: David Ayer Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, and Anna Kendrick Many of the reviews out there have pegged “End of Watch” as a movie similar in tone as that of “Training Day,” starring Denzel Washington – it’s not in the same category. Yes, they are both gritty cop films where drugs play a role and have the same director. But the similarities end there. It’s a film that sets a very good pace and develops its characters in a way that makes sense. The movie is about two cops who patrol one of the roughest neighborhoods in present-day South Central Los Angeles, California, where violence is always just around the corner. Officer Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Officer Mike Zevalla (Michael Pena) are longtime friends and partners who have seen everything in this gangland. Taylor is filming their patrols for a college elective course documenting a day in the life of a cop. This explains the movie’s shaky, realistic camerawork. The same can be said for the villains of the movie, some of the gangsters, that also happen to record their rides. Several busts lead the officers squarely in the cross hairs of a Mexican drug cartel, where they somehow have to manage to come away unscathed. Both lead actors do an amazing job of creating a genuine kinship in the film, with their humorous banter and brotherly treatment, they can easily bring the audience to tears near the end. The scene that sets the tone is when Pena’s character, instead of arresting a man who seemed to deserve it, got into a fistfight after insults were thrown. The law of the street prevailed over the rule of law, and though the cops ended up putting handcuffs on the man, he eventually became a friend giving street cred to the boys in blue. Most of the film is shown as a docudrama, using several different types of video footage, out of focus camerawork, and realistic visuals. Not once does the story stop moving along, as many recent Hollywood films have, always pushing us along but keeping us on our toes. David Ayers has given us another great cop film, this one with a different take on the thought-provoking role of the boys in blue in the on-going drug war and the kinship that comes from fighting in such a losing venture.