Directed by: David Ayer
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera, Cody Horn
Sassi’s Star Rating: 3.5/5
Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Michael Pena) are LA Blues: partners in crime, or if you’ll allow the bad joke, in pursuit of it. Some of he better cops in the precent, the deeply flawed pair patrol the rougher areas of gang ridden LA.
When they pull over a car concealing a stash of cash and of illegal guns, the pair are warned to back off – they’ve yanked the tail of a very angry beast: a brutal Mexican cartel that runs the area they’re patrolling. But the boys refuse to back off, and become embroiled in the underground of drug trafficking and people smuggling.
Filmed as if through shaky handheld cameras, End of Watch is just as confronting in the way it is filmed, as in what it is filming. The film uses the premise that Brian is recording his work for a documentary he is making for a college film class he takes after work. Ayer takes some cheap creative liberties to explain how the cameras are rolling when the leads aren’t around – but it’s a flub best ignored, if you can.
If you’re looking for a big action blockbuster than End of Watch is not your film. Instead of a strong story arc the documentary style footage leads itself to more sporadic action, applaudably paced between the day to day mundane of the job – which is hanging around in cop cars and talking bull mainly. Thanks to the chemistry between the leads these are the sweetest moments. Drifting in and out of their lives we might not get to feel like we know Brian and Mike, but we do start to like them. Considering the deplorable things they sometimes do – such as antagonising a fight with a member of the public for no reason other than sheer hotheadedness – it’s a testament to Ayer he can get us to look past this.
They are intrinsically good people though, the film will argue. They may be a little stupid, and completely hopped up on machismo, but they are average Joes with good intentions moulded by a questionable workplace culture. It’s a refreshing change to average procedural protagonists, and they feel more real than any other too.
America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) and Cody Horn (Magic Mike) are interesting as the toughened female cops in the division who have no sympathy for their green counterpart who gets violently bashed within an inch of her life on the job. Anna Kendrick is sweet in a brief role as Brian’s love interest, Janet.
Not for the weak of stomach or of mind.
End of Watch is in cinemas now.
Category: Film & TV