Dir. David Ayer
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)
“I am the police, and I'm here to arrest you. You've broken the law. I did not write the law. I may disagree with the law but I will enforce it. By law I am unable to walk away. I am a consequence. I am the unpaid bill. I am fate with a badge and a gun.“
Lock and load for David ‘Street Kings and Harsh Times’ Ayer's powerful found-footage cop-drama-em-up. End of Watch is an awesomely kinetic free flowing tale of two likeable cops who get marked for death when they inadvertently tick off a powerful / evil drug cartel who have started operating on their L.A. beat.
"You have the right to remain dead..."
The filmmakers use a variety of handheld, shaky lapel attached and cc tv style cameras to bring an uncompromising fictional insight into the day-to-day life of hot-shot cops Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña).
End of Watch brings some superb gritty action but balances it with a ton of good-natured banter and joking around between the two leads which makes you care about them – especially when the plot puts them right in harm's way. The sweary dialogue may be crude and not to everyone’s taste but it feels refreshingly ‘real’.
The hand-held footage genre has already been used really effectively in the excellent ‘Chronicle’ but was annoyingly rubbish in ‘Paranormal Activity 4’ this year. End of Watch comes in on the positive side – taking you right ‘into’ the dangerous street level action.
"Christmas bonus from the LAPD"
The performances of Gyllenhal and Peña are absolutely fantastic, creating a believable and likeable police buddy partnership – it feels all the more authentic due to the two having spent time with actual LAPD officers. Love interests are on hand in the form of Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez, who give the film an even stronger emotional core. Viewing End of Watch is like hanging out with two best pals whose friendship is forged in the heat of battle and constant threat of danger into a strong genuine bond.
The obligatory bad guys are a small army of tattooed scumbag foot soldiers led by Big Evil (Maurice Compte) – playing against type as he was a Police Officer in the TV Cop drama Southland. The fact that the baddies have cameras as well allows for an awesome ambush scene shot from both viewpoints.
Grim, funny and altogether exciting, be careful out there and be sure to check End of Watch!
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
ööööö – Best cop thriller for a long time!
5 – A cult classic in the making
Awesomeness ööööö – everything works really well
Laughs öööö – very funny in places
Horror ööö – some nasty moments
Babes ööö – Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez
Spiritual Enlightenment öö - brothers to the end