End of Watch - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

End of Watch Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 20, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
½ February 11, 2013
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..
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 29, 2013
A cop flick that was neither boring nor interesting. The friendship of the protagonists hardly had anything new. The end is apparently (and most probably, intentionally) predictable due to its title.
Super Reviewer
½ September 22, 2012
Ugh, so good!!! review soon...
Super Reviewer
March 15, 2013
A riveting, hard-hitting look of two cops (Jake Gyllenhall, Michael Pena) and the random jobs they are assigned to on a daily basis in the dangerous LA area, and how young adulthood, family, and a good sense of humor keeps them grounded amongst the chaos of their work on the streets. Without question one of the best cop dramas to come out in quite some time. While director David Ayer's track record is far from perfect (I still think "Training Day" is over-rated, and "Street Kings" is awful), he gets almost everything right here. Sure, some elements are a little Hollywood-ized and there are a couple plot holes, but Ayer's decision to film this with HD cameras and the "shaky-cam" shooting style gives this a realistic feel to it. The ending is heart-wrenching and tear-jerking, with both Gyllenhaal and Pena once again showing why they are two of the best young actors in the business, with each giving arguably their best performance of their careers. Not for all tastes, given the ugliness these guys stumble into given their line of work, but impossible not to be fascinated with how they attempt to handle it all. A near-great film, and one that should be seen.
Super Reviewer
March 13, 2013
The end doesn't come soon enough in David Ayer's End of Watch.The film gets points for realism, but as far as the story is concerned, there isn't much in the way of flow. Watching cops "take down bad guys" for 100 minutes gets tiresome and while the story tries to develop the main protagonists with family and emotion, it isn't effective enough to warrant huge cheers for them.The realism of the dialogue is both a strength and a weakness. It fits well with the concept of the film and its hand held camera style, which is a hit or miss, but watching Mexican gangsters cursing on every other word is just plain annoying.Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena put up some solid performances; however, it doesn't surpass the mediocrity of their characters.In the end, End of Watch really lacks any entertainment value to be worth checking out.
Super Reviewer
½ February 25, 2013
"End of Watch" is captivating and entertaining throughout, but it seems to lack an impactful meaning other than "being a cop kinda sucks." The characters don't make any noticeable arcs throughout the movie, and the ending could've used some work. Grade: C
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2012
End of Watch is a gritty police drama that soars thanks to the fantastic perfomances from the two leads and intense action sequences.
Super Reviewer
½ October 12, 2012
Interesting film that displays the difficulties and nuances of being a successful police officer in high crime regions.
Super Reviewer
½ February 17, 2013
'End of Watch' is a brilliantly executed cop drama that is as enticing as it is unrelenting. A quick pace makes the film kinetic and never loses your attention. The real props however, go to the two leads in Gyllenhaal and Pena, who establish wonderful character development along the chaotic ride. Their banter and build up bring us to an unflinching climax that shows no remorse. In fact, nothing about the film is remorseful. This is pure, unadulterated chaos, shoveled into one to make one of the best cop films you'll see in recent years.
Super Reviewer
November 23, 2012
Some fiction movies knock politely on the door to gain attention,others just kick it in. David Ayer's "End of Watch" is even more assaultive than his best known previous film as screenwriter,who was best known for penning the Oscar winning "Training Day". This "day in the life" cop drama presents law enforcement in South Central Los Angeles as an extreme blood sport. The only difference: no one knows from minute to minute who is the quarry,who is the hunter. Lots of people get blown away. In one of the most graphic scenes ever committed to celluloid a cop squats on a sidewalk with a knife stuck in his eye, and from just I explain there is more to come within this graphically intense and sometimes brutally violent cop drama. The nearly non-stop handheld camera,now standing for patrol cop Jake Gyllenhaal's personal camcorder,now just giddying our point of view,would seem a verismo action thriller cliche without this film's honorable humanizing endeavors. In their cop car Gyllenhaal and his partner Michael Pena,swear, jabber, and horseplay;after hours they patch together their fallible home lives. Each is on the brink of marriage or fatherhood. In the bloody noon of their day they stumble on drugs,deaths,a house full of human traffic captives,another house full of dismembered body parts...not to mention dealing with an intense battle sequence with violent drug cartels. Though we doubt the scene near the end where they run into an apartment block and improbably escape a staccato of machine-gun fire;we doubt for a second what follows is a cool and grisly face off between recognized helpnessless(theirs)and goonishly exultant brutality(the baddies that ranged between local gang bangers and dealing with the violent Mexican cartels and rival gangs) that results in one of the most intense and graphically stylish police thrillers in recent memory and "End of Watch" definitely stands out as the best of 2012 has to offer.
Super Reviewer
½ September 21, 2012
Now here's a film that flew under my radar, only to become one of the standouts of 2012. Writer/ Director David Ayer has been responsible for some solid cop movies before (Training Day, Street Kings, Dark Blue), but "End of Watch" infinitely surpasses them, standing toe to toe with some of the all-time best of the genre.

Aside from the kinetic energy and cinematography, assured direction, at times shocking brutality and award-worthy screenplay, what elevates "End of Watch" is the career best performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and especially (the Oscar snubbed) Michael Peņa. They give the film surprising heart, and we buy their relationship and workplace motivations.

Uncommonly gripping film heightened by visceral action and a powerful conclusion.
Super Reviewer
October 5, 2012
Michael Peņa and Jake Gyllenhaal were snubbed of Oscar nominations and David Ayer for his brilliant screenplay!
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2013
The chemistry between the two leads was great. Still pretty sure I don't want to be a cop.
Super Reviewer
December 10, 2012
Remember the old US TV cop show 'Chips'? well never mind cos this ain't nothing like that lol!. From the films poster you can tell this is a badass cops, drugs and guns drama which will no doubt have lots of profanity and gangbangin involved.

Profanity you say? check!, holy assburgers there is tonnes of it, a possible record breaker here folks. Aside from that the film is actually pretty good and did keep me interested throughout. The plot is basically about the lives of two LA cops going about their daily lives and err that's it. Not only do we get the bad side of being a cop, naturally, we also see the odd perks and how these guys get along together both on the beat and personally.

The whole film is made in a hands on/handheld cam style which we all know about mainly from a few alien and horror flicks. At first it does feel as if its a documentary style and there is a cameraman with the two officers but we find out Gyllenhaal's character is doing some of the filming himself for his own personal project. So the look moves from a police pov to a handheld cam style as if someone else was there with the cops filming.

Visuals are of course rugged, real and at times hectic when the officers burst into action or come under fire. It does add a thrill to the film and gives the whole thing a sharper edge, it basically feels like you're watching one of those real cop TV shows with real footage. Naturally the family side of the story isn't really very interesting and I did find myself yearning for them to get back on the beat. Pregnant wives and relationships zzzzzzz...more door bashing drug/weapon raids please.

On the whole the plot does feel somewhat jumbled and as if its going nowhere but towards the end it does meld together. Unfortunately the ending disappointed me, the cops come under heavy fire from a gang so they go on the run. As they escape they take down two vehicles driven by gangsters, now at this point I instantly thought the pair should jump in one of these criminals cars and drive off to safety. Whilst there they could also have grabbed one of the dead criminals weapons for extra protection seeing as all they have is handguns low on ammo.

But no! they don't do either and just remain on foot trying to outrun or dodge their way clear through alleys. Now surely common sense would dictate what I suggested no? maybe that's just me, the bad guys expire in a pretty weak cliched way too. Bit of an anti climax that lets the rest of the film down if you ask me.

On the whole the film is decent with great performances from the two leads. You really do think you're watching a cop TV show, all that's missing is that stupid intense voice narrating everything hehe. The only down side is, as an Englishman looking on, the film doesn't really put black Americans or Hispanic/Mexican Americans living in LA, in a very good light. Kinda puts you off going anywhere near the city limits, but I guess you could say kudos to the actors and director for making me feel that way, the film made its presence known.
Super Reviewer
½ December 10, 2012
Every moment of your life they stand watch.

Great Film! In terms of subject matter this film doesn't cover anything really different. Its about cops dealing with their issues at home and on the job. This topic has been covered countless times but what makes End Of Watch different and better then many of its predecessors is that it holds realism as its number one priority. This is one of the most realistic portrayals of police life ever put to celluloid. The day to day lives of these two best friends are shown in a format that is both convincing and horrifying. It doesn't flinch away when showing the disturbing aspects of this high pressure career. Gyllenhaal and Peņa provide us with two highly believable characters and their chemistry is palpable. Whether they're talking about the women in their lives or having a friendly argument about racial stereotypes, these two actors ensure that we stick with their characters through every step of the way. Gyllenhaal continues to solidify himself as one of the best actors around and Peņa delivers one of his best performances to date. It's got a great script and a focused story that is handled confidently and told well. David Ayer has crafted an intense, hard hitting drama that benefits from the two excellent performances by the two leads.

Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2012
When I was watching this I kept thinking, "man this is like "Training Day". Afterwards, I find out that each movie had that the same writer, which is not a bad thing. "End of Watch" is a movie chronicling the lives of to cops who stumble upon some bad stuff, making them targets of a drug cartel. The two cops are played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. Both of them are amazing and have tremendous chemistry as best friends. It's great to see a movie about good cops, instead of one good and one bad. Here, they are both good and best friends. It's an interesting and fresh take on cop movies. The action is great, and this movie keeps you glued to the screen. You never really know what is about to happen, and it really keeps you on your toes. There were a couple scenes where I was like "wtf!?" Pena got a nomination for a Spirit Award, and I think he deserves it and probably an Oscar nod as well. Great movie and well worth the watch if your into good action thrillers.
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