End of the Watch – Blu-ray Review
By Dana Rae Feb 10, 2013, 15:22 GMT
From the writer of Training Day comes a gripping, action-packed cop drama starring Academy Awardr nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. In their mission to abide by their oath to serve and protect, Officers Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Pena) have formed a powerful brotherhood to ensure they both go home at the end of watch. But nothing can prepare them for the violent backlash that happens after they ...more
The story about two friends, police officers and partners in the mean streets of LA, End of the Watch is brilliantly shot - thanks to the documentary style or “found footage” that has become popular in recent years. The film has a gritty realism that hooks you from the opening moments. The ending breaks some of the emotional investment of the audience, but the film is still one of the best police dramas in years.
The two police officers, young and on the brink of the rest of their lives, are Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena). Mike is married and he and his wife are expecting a child while Brian is single.
Throughout the movie, seen in the conversations they have in the car while on patrol, the audience is clued into the budding relationship that Brian has with Janet (Anna Kendrick). But the women in the movie are secondary, as the two men spend much of their time together, driving and talking, and getting into situations that a patrol cop might find himself in, as well as hanging out after hours together.
The documentary style of shooting comes into play as Brian is filming their police activities for a film class project. He attaches small cameras to his and Mike’s uniforms. He also carries around a hand-held camcorder. Their superiors and other officers don’t much appreciate Brian’s effort to document, but it is all taken in stride with much chiding and teasing.
At its heart, End of the Watch is a film about a deep friendship between the two partners, and the two actors make the film. The real marriage might be between Brian and Mike with episodes at work thrown in. Mike, seemingly the more mature (and married since after high school), gives Brian relationship advice (Brian comes off, at first, as somewhat of a player).
Thrown into the heated streets of LA, situations arise that are life and death, and some are hard to deal with (seeing two kids duct taped in the closet of their drug addicted parents for example), but Brian and Mike have each other, a friendship forged in watching the others’ back.
Luck seems to follow them as they are commended for their actions in a high speed chase and shooting. It seems everywhere they turn, their decisions to intervene bring attention to underground criminal activity - namely a South American drug cartel. However, they do step on some toes and are warned by the ICE department to “lay low”.
When the pair rescue three children from a burning house without waiting for the fire department, their actions are heralded as heroic, receiving the Metal of Valor. But the cartel targets them and reprisal is eminent, and very harsh.
The ending twists and turns and as an audience member, I wasn’t sure where the film would go. It kept me guessing until the end. My one complaint with the movie is the added scene at the very end, a conversation the two men had earlier in the day. The scene seemed out of place and robbed the movie of some of the emotional impact of the story.
The film’s “found footage” premise is futher stretched thing thanks to the gang members filming their activities. It is hard to believe criminals putting their illegal activities on film, but I suppose it was a foil for Brian’s film making. It does a good job to keep the plot moving along, and to parallel the actions of justice and crime.
Brian and Mike are unforgettable characters, “everymen” in the face of adversity. Gyllenhaal and Pena truly have a brotherly chemistry, and it is not hard to get sucked into their world and stay there for almost two hours. The movie spans months, and you are tired and emotionally drained by the ending credits. It’s one hell of a ride.
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FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CAnna Kendrick Biography -
Anna Kendrick Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesJake Gyllenhaal Biography -
Jake Gyllenhaal Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesMichael Peña Biography -
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