End of Watch features Jake Gyllenhaal (Source Code
) as Officer Brian Green and Michael Peña (Battle: Los Angeles
) as his partner Officer Mike Zavala. The guys patrol a predominately Hispanic neighbourhood in down-town L.A. with a reputation for violence. The hood-mounted-camera based opening scenes see the guys get the baddies and the two become the cocksure heroes of the department. But when they continue to make strides in denting crime in the area, they step on the toes of some much more serious cartel criminals who have no respect for the law. As we see Officer Green and Zavala's personal lives bloom, it becomes clear that they are risking their lives on and off the job for the thrill of the chase, will they make it home alive?
Filmed as a series of POV cameras (either the hand-held the guys carry, their button cams or the mandatory dash/hood cams) this film documents the rise of two young and upcoming stars of the L.A.P.D. - both actors provide a tangible and affable relationship that really comes across - they honestly seemed to be the best of friends and this made the story and surrounding plotlines extremely believable. Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air
) plays Gyllenhaal's plausible love-interest and deserves some credit for carrying the slower emotional side of the story - however the action is frenetic and continual. The duo get themselves into more fire-fights than the last stand at the Alamo and the direction, cinematography and choreography are all impeccable - credit to director David Ayer (he directed Training Day
to give you an idea) - there is an excellent hip-hop based but laced with mariachi soundtrack
Most refreshingly, this steers well clear of the usual corrupt-cop story selling out someone in the department à la The Departed
and comes across as much, much more original - it's a simple a premise as that. Cops bust bad guys; bad guys fight back - who comes out on top? Resultantly, I was stuck to my seat for the duration, weighing in at 109 minutes including credits. Highly recommended for a cop movie that expends more ammunition than your average war-film.