End of Watch (2012)
Critic Consensus: End of Watch has the energy, devotion to characters, and charismatic performances to overcome the familiar pitfalls of its genre and handheld format.
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Critic Reviews for End of Watch
Ayer and his cast appear to have so convincingly nailed the way these characters talk and act that you might not even notice the film slipping from workaday grit into out-and-out myth.
The actors, both excellent, get right into Ayer's groove. So by the time we arrive at the unsparing climax, we really know and care about these guys.
Gyllenhaal and Pena are after a lived-in camaraderie and a street-level realism. Pena, especially, succeeds; you buy him every second.
The performances here are so sharp that viewers may wish End of Watch has been shot by someone who knew how to find the right point of view for a scene and leave it there.
Audience Reviews for End of Watch
End of Watch doesn't do anything new, and what it does do has been done better. David Ayer supposedly spent only six days writing the script and it shows, merely creating the basic elements of a safe, cohesive, and marketable plot. Ayers, known for his shrill, marketable approach to filmmaking, chose the trendy documentary-style cinematography, which is supposed to increase the realism or believability of the "footage." Here, it consistently does the opposite and ends up a jumbled mess of first-person and third-person perspectives. Ayers needed a reason why our protagonist cop is carrying a camera, and conveniently has him enrolled in a film class. Are the gang bangers in film class, too? One of the them films themselves and the crew in the car as they heatedly argue -- with guns pointed at each other -- over plans to kill police officers. The other kicker is that the gang's leader yells to get the camera out of his face, while little does he know there are at least 3 more in the car that none of them are even aware of. Yes, Ayers betrays his own movie, as not only does the "amateur" footage look produced, but the majority of the movie is in 3rd person with cameras not present in the story. All that is really accomplished here is 10 minutes of the movie filled with characters complaining about being filmed. Readers would be better served watching any two episodes of The Wire, even if they've already been seen.
I almost turned this off after the first half hour, but I am glad that I stuck it out. I found it a decent story. A thriller at times. Full of good performances, but also relies on typical stereotypes of Mexican gang bangers. Nothing terribly new, and I wasn't really sure why they decided to end it the way they did. All in all, though, worth watching..
Brian Taylor: Come on, man. We're cops. Everybody wants to kill us, Tre.
"Every Moment of Your Life They Stand Watch"
End of Watch is a hard hitting, gritty, and well made cop thriller directed with intensity by David Ayer and boasts two great performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, as best friends and partners. The film is shot like a documentary in order to make it feel more real. It certainly does have a very realistic feel to it the whole way. There's parts that are disturbing, violent, and down right gruesome, but at the heart of the film is always the friendship between two fellow cops.
Brian and Mike are two cops working in a heavily gang and drug influenced part of LA. They also love their jobs. They love saving lives, taking out the bad guys, and life threatening situations have become the routine for them. However, their fire and gusto may prove to get them into trouble once they start messing with an extremely powerful cartel working out of LA.
A lot of the movie is basically us watching the two cops as they go about their watches. We watch them take calls and go into situations not knowing what's going to happen when they arrive on the scene. One of the cops, Brian, is taking a film class, so he is documenting everything they do on the job. He carries around a camera when he's able to, and him and his partner also have mini cameras on their uniforms.
This movie proved to be a little more emotional than I would have ever thought. It's a movie that uses all the excitement and joking between the two to really show that these guys think they are bullet proof, fire proof, and any other type of proof. Overall, this is just about as good as a beat cop movie can be. It really is excellent filmmaking.
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