Movie Review: End Of Watch

Posted: October 8, 2012 in movie reviews, movies
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Held up by the find acting of its leads, End of Watch is a strong, gritty movie with consequences that will linger long after the movie has ended.

End of Watch
Starring:
 
Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, Frank Grillo, David Harbour, America Ferrera, Cody Horn

Premise: Best friends, Officer Taylor and Officer Zavala are cocky partners in charge of keeping the streets of LA safe. One day on patrol, the uncover a large crime that through a series of unfortunate events leaves them targets of an extremely dangerous drug cartel.

My Review: End of Watch does what a lot of movies fail to do. It develops a love between two people so well you actually care about them, their relationship, and their survival. In this case, it’s two cops who have been friends for many years. They are both work partners and “brothers from another mother” and their devotion to each other and each other’s family is palpable. The friendship and bond between Officer Taylor and Officer Zavala and the chemistry between their counterparts Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena is what holds this gritty, bloody, stressful movie together.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are incredible to watch. Jake has his rugged good looks, his lopsided side smile, and his confident charisma and it works well with Pena’s humor, good nature, and overall charm. They bring these characteristics to their characters and we know from the decisions they make, and their devotion to each other that Taylor and Zavala are the real deal. This bond and chemistry made the ending that much harder to swallow. I knew what was coming, I had a strong feeling how it would end, but I cared about these characters so much the effect on me was powerful.

Despite having a serious story line and putting its characters in extremely dangerous and nail-biting situations, there is also humor to be found in David Ayer’s (who also directed) script. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena joke and bicker like they’ve been doing it all their lives. This, combined with fantastic supporting actors, Anna Kendrick, Frank Grillo, David Harbour, America Ferrera, and lesser known actors, are what makes this film watchable.

Unfortunately, where it fails is in the camera work. I can’t tell whether this movie is documentary style, found footage style, or just a film where sometimes we cut to the POV of the camera our protagonists hold. It never really committed to one of these styles, which made it extremely distracting. However, as I became engrossed in the movie I forgot all that, and in some cases I found that it worked. Most of the time you never saw things before our hero’s saw them, making situations that much scarier.

Like I said before, End of Watch is a strong movie with situations that will haunt you long after the movie has ended. If anything, watch it for the great work by Jake and Mike (In my mind, I know them well enough to call them that.) but beware, it’s not for the faint of heart.

 

Rating: 3 ½ stars out of 5
(It would have been 4 if not for weird camerawork)

 

 

 

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