End of Watch Reviews

Top Critic
Bilge Ebiri
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 8, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
January 8, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
January 8, 2013
Gyllenhaal and Pena are after a lived-in camaraderie and a street-level realism. Pena, especially, succeeds; you buy him every second.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
January 8, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Tom Huddleston
Time Out
October 2, 2012
Intermittently enjoyable but incredibly frustrating.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
September 24, 2012
Jumpy and exciting.
Top Critic
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
September 22, 2012
The ingredients in [this] cop drama are as routine as a traffic stop. But director/writer David Ayer (who wrote the electric good-cop/bad-cop Training Day) makes it work.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
September 21, 2012
Both actors are marvelous -- this may be the most nuanced and far-ranging performance Gyllenhaal has ever given -- and writer-director David Ayer is unapologetically frank about the dangers these men face.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
September 21, 2012
I'm not sure who appointed David Ayer poet laureate for the LAPD, but at least he takes the job seriously.
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
September 21, 2012
End of Watch suffers from no end of sanctimony.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
September 21, 2012
Ayer ... keeps wrecking the sense of realism he's trying to build.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
September 21, 2012
Gyllenhaal and the perpetually under-rated Pena have a wonderful way of bouncing off one another and Ayers is wise to make this the energy that drives the movie instead of mere violence.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
September 21, 2012
Gyllenhaal and Pena have great chemistry together ... in their best performances to date.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
September 21, 2012
A portrait of law enforcement under pressure that is as ennobling as it is gritty.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
September 20, 2012
A visceral story of beat cops that is rare in its sensitivity, rash in its violence and raw in its humor.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
September 20, 2012
The best scenes are filmed inside the cruiser, dashboard shots that face inward instead of out, catching Gyllenhaal and Peņa in moments so playful and true they make all other buddy cops look bogus by comparison.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
September 20, 2012
Writer/director David Ayer gives us an authentic, sometimes shockingly gruesome ride along.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
September 20, 2012
The shaky camera work -- often a gimmicky stylistic option -- is an effective choice here, both as a story element and a technique.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 20, 2012
It's not a pretty job. But it's a pretty awesome film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
September 20, 2012
A muscular, maddening exploitation movie embellished with art-house style and anchored by solid performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
September 20, 2012
End of Watch is one thriller where the adrenaline rush, considerable as it is, is almost always put in the service of character. Happily, the character on display turns out to be considerable, too.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Top Critic
September 20, 2012
At times Ayer rubs our noses, almost literally, in the devastating horribleness of it all.
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
September 20, 2012
It goes beyond gritty and realistic violence into a zone where Hieronymus Bosch collides with Dante ...
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
September 20, 2012
Shallow down inside, "End of Watch" is a music-video Frappuccino of quick cuts, sparkling banter, serial crises, grisly violence and tongue-jerk profanity.
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
September 20, 2012
There are 6 million cop shows on television right now. On none of them have I heard two men speak to each other with as much natural affinity as these two.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
September 20, 2012
Ayer brings a rough, aggressive energy to the picture, staying within the broad outlines of the buddy-cop formula but investing the characters with no-bull authenticity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
September 20, 2012
End of Watch gives you the savage whoosh of being on a job that can get you killed.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
September 20, 2012
It's every cop movie you've ever seen but from a fresh angle: You go into each situation without a clue about its outcome.
Full Review | Original Score: 7
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
September 20, 2012
For those who can handle Ayer's overuse of the shaky-cam approach on the big screen, End of Watch is satisfying and emotionally potent.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
September 20, 2012
Nerve-rattling in the best way, the sharp, visceral urban police procedural End of Watch is one of the best American cop movies I've seen in a long time.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
September 20, 2012
It may seem like just another movie about the mean streets of South Central and the blue knights that keep the peace, but writer-director David Ayer focuses on the characters while slowly and subtly bringing the plot up from the background.
Top Critic
Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
September 20, 2012
What saves this cop show from its predictable tropes and cliches are terrific performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, who've got each other's backs as actors and as "brothers" in law enforcement.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Soren Anderson
Seattle Times
September 20, 2012
"End of Watch" feels new. Fresh. Immediate. Watching it, it's almost as though you're seeing a cop movie for the first time.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
September 20, 2012
After so many films, not just Ayer's, where LAPD cops are depicted as corrupt, homicidal or suicidal, it's refreshing to see one where the boys in blue really are the good guys for a change.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 20, 2012
"End of Watch" is one of the best police movies in recent years, a virtuoso fusion of performances and often startling action.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
September 20, 2012
Gyllenhaal and Peņa's relationship, a sort of heterosexual love affair, is depicted with a sense of tenderness and care that does not extend to the cartoonish villains that dominate the film's lackluster final act.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Chuck Wilson
Village Voice
September 19, 2012
As social insight, End of Watch is useless, but as engrossing entertainment, it's irresistible, thanks to Ayer's gift for dialogue, the relentless pacing set by film editor Dody Dorn, and gorgeous performances by Gyllenhaal and Peņa ...
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
September 19, 2012
Writer and director David Ayer manages to overcome the shortcomings of the genre, many of which are present here, with great chemistry between his actors and sheer momentum.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
September 19, 2012
From the brutal daily violence to the dramatic final act, "End of Watch" itself remains thrilling and uncompromising.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out
September 18, 2012
Ayer clearly thinks he's making a grittily realistic ode to the long arm of the law, yet only the more intimate scenes ring true.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
John DeFore
Hollywood Reporter
September 11, 2012
Macho swagger is justified by some adrenaline-producing encounters in cops vs. cartels drama.
Top Critic
James Rocchi
MSN Movies
September 10, 2012
Gyllenhall and Peņa have chemistry together and charisma individually.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
September 10, 2012
Like a knife in the eye, End of Watch cuts past the cliches of standard police procedurals, serving instead as a visceral ride-along with two thrill-seeking cops.
Top Critic
Jordan Hoffman
Film.com
September 9, 2012
Compared to an average episode of 'Criminal Minds,' it's pretty good.
Full Review | Original Score: C