End of Watch FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Open Road Films, Exclusive Media, Crave Films, Emmett/Furla Films, and Envision Entertainment Corporation present a 109 minute, R rated, crime, drama, directed and written by David Ayer with a theater release of September 21, 2012.
In South Central LA you never know what to expect especially if you’re a local police officer like Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal), who by the way is sporting a shaved head giving him a rougher look and proving once again why his acting card is so busy. His partner officer Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) is a husband and soon to be father married to his one and only true love Gabby (Natalie Martinez). Both men are just as close as blood brothers and on a daily basis talk about love, sex, family, and jokingly on a regular basis the differences between Brian’s white world versus the Spanish world Mike grew up in. Known as the “ghetto gun fighters” these guys risk their lives every day on the streets of South Central fighting D.M.G. criminals, dope, money and guns.
The direction and the use of photography is quite exquisite making the film a bit diverse between steady cameras and the use of hand held camcorders used by the actors themselves. Grant it the film never gets annoying in my opinion since the director uses a sense of balance between shots. It has an appeal of films like “Paranormal Activity” and “Blair Witch” in the way the cameras are used but it is an added appeal rather than an overdone aspect like “Cloverfield”. Now that film gave me a bit of a headache as did “Blair Witch”. In the opening of the story I feared that the film would follow this use of motion and angles but thankfully it uses conventional along with the unconventional in all of the scenes.
South Central of course was always highly populated with the black community but these days the Mexican population is taking over and the black gangs are not happy. Shoot outs, fires, mistreatment of children, extremely bad language, sex, drugs, guns, murder and gang warfare are just some of the occurrences that Brain and Mike along with their team, Van Hauser (David Harbour), Orozco (America Ferrera), a long way from “Ugly Betty” days, Davis (Cody Horn), much better role for her than “Magic Mike” and the other squad members get to experience every day on the beat. This film makes you truly feel like you’re right there in the car with the LA police living and experiencing the same emotions and sights they do on a regular basis.
Brian loves his work but feels something is missing that is until he started dating Janet (Anna Kendrick) but once he acknowledges his love for her his private life has taken a new turn and the director takes us into both his and his partners private lives as well as their professional world. If you ever wondered what a hero looks like once you see this film you’ll realize that a hero is the men that are out there every day to protect and serve, risking their lives in order for the average person to live theirs.
When Brian and Mike stumble upon that of drugs, money and human trafficking while pulling over a local trucker they soon hear that the Mexican Cartel has now ordered a hit on them. As cops in LA though every day to them is a marked day, risking the chance of never seeing their families ever again, their lives are not that of coffee shops and donuts! As the camera rolls, it is August 18, 2011, Mike expresses that God loves cops but in a game of chess someone always claims checkmate yet sometimes it may not be the player you expect to win. In an ending sure to bring a heavy heart this film will make you laugh one second than gasp in horror the next.
Even though the camera angles can get a bit annoying at times the film is extremely well directed and more so written although not quite suited for a young audience by no means. Bad language, body parts, bloody scenes and extreme violence are just some of the moments the audience gets to experience but overall this film will definitely keep your attention since the phenomenal writing draws you in making you feel up close and personal to these two particular cops, Brian and Mike.
Gyllenhaal is spot on bring intensity to his scenes with a touch of humor as does Pena. The conversations and acting by these two men is superbly written and projected that you feel like you’ve known them for years. Ferrera was a shock to me, spot on as a tough cop on the streets of LA, a huge transition from her television role as “Ugly Betty”. Horn that plays her partner doesn’t have as much screen time but for what time she does have she plays it much stronger than her role in “Magic Mike”. The camera’s make you feel like you’re there, the writing draws you in as well, the acting is brilliant and the situations that the director puts the audience into is highly intense all making for yet another great movie starring Gyllenhaal.
Other than the police radio call of the crazy pit-bull on the run and the use of them as guard dogs for the bad guys it seems the director went with the stereotype of what people consider a vicious beast with vice-grip jaws. Like any breed of dog as in character of people there are good and bad but once again the pit seems to get the bad rap on the big screen. Written and enjoyed but not recommended for the squeamish with three paws out of four by Jon Patch.
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