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End of Watch [DVD] 
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LAPD police officers Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala are bonded by friendship and a crusade to clean up the violent streets of South Central, Los Angeles. Their mission is to serve and protect, their objective is to survive until the end of watch, that last moment in an officer’s patrol when he’s finally off duty. But when a routine traffic enquiry results in them seizing a large cache of weapons, Brian and Mike are marked for death by a notorious drugs cartel. Thrown into a world of mayhem and carnage, both officers are forced to risk their lives in the name of the law.
Directed by David Ayer (Training Day, Street Kings) and starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Source Code) and Michael Peña (Gangster Squad), End of Watch is a gritty and visceral cop thriller that puts the viewer at the centre of the action.
“One of the all-time great cop films” (Dave Aldridge, BBC Radio 5 Live)
***** The Sun
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director David Ayer
• Deleted Scenes
• Alternative Ending (Rough Cut)
• Interviews with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña
• BAFTA Q&A with Michael Peña and John Lesher
David Ayer has staked a large claim as the preeminent teller of shady Los Angeles police stories, whether in scripts for others (Training Day, Dark Blue), or films he's directed himself (Harsh Times, Street Kings). While such a narrow field of view can often lead to repetition (or worse, self-parody), Ayer deserves a large amount of credit for finding new entry points with each project. End of Watch, Ayer's third film as director, introduces a few new wrinkles to the formula, most notably the use of found footage to viscerally convey the moments of crisis (and stretches of tedium) while on the beat. Beginning with an impressively messy chase scene, the film follows a few eventful days in the lives of two officers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) returning to active duty after a shooting. Any hopes for a routine patrol, however, quickly fade when the two cross the path of a murderous gang leader named Big Evil (Maurice Compte).
Ayer, working in a loose, profane mode that favorably recalls the works of Joseph Wambaugh, does a commendable job at conveying the day-to-day insanity that is a cop's lot in life, with special emphasis on the impossibility of leaving the job at the office. While the handheld-camera approach gives the action scenes a definite queasy charge, the time between shootouts proves just as compelling, due to the convincing friendship between family man Peña and the fiercely single Gyllenhaal, and some terrific supporting turns from Anna Kendrick and The Grey's Frank Grillo. Ultimately, though, the film's best asset may be the filmmaker's decision to paint his protagonists as normal people dedicated to upholding the law, rather than being drawn to the fashionable dark side. For the first time in what seems like a long time, the cops are the good guys. --Andrew Wright
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Top Customer Reviews
I had my preconceptions before I watched the film, but very quickly they dissolved and what I found rather than the usual utterly violent, gritty, angry, tough American cop drama, was a film that although about two police officers working in Los Angeles' very dangerous South Central area, known for violent gangs and big drug dealers and murders and violent crimes by the dozen, is actually a bromance, about two friends on the same 'beat' telling jokes to each other, swearing, laughing, being offensive and making sleazy jokes about their women, you know typical guys everywhere, as they ride around their pitch in LA. What happens, and I won't go over the plot or spoil it for you, is they cross serious players and then the film kicks into another gear as they become marked men. Both lead actors in the movie are very good and watchable and convincing, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, who play the cop buddies, and there is an outstanding performance by an actor called Maurice Compte who plays 'Big Evil'; not a guy you'd want to cross in an alley on a light night let alone a dark night!
All in all, a very enjoyable, if violent, cop movie with a difference.
hand-held visual style, improvisational feeling acting, and occasionally
much more conventional plot turns. This study of two slightly gonzo,
gung-ho, but basically righteous Los Angeles cops is alternately deeply
engrossing and affecting, and occasionally frustrating.
When it all works, it feels about as real as any police drama I've ever
seen. (It's also too rare to see an heroic Hispanic lead character in a film
about a city where Latinos make up a huge part of the population)
When it gets in it's own way -- as when the camera-work becomes so
self-conscious that you start thinking about it (Why do so many
characters just happen to have cameras? Why are many of the shots from
angles that could never be from a home video camera, if this is
following a "found video" conceit?) or when the acting occasionally
stops feeling real and suddenly comes off as self- conscious improv. Or
when our heroes are in firefights that look real, but follow Hollywood
rules of logic as to how they turn out. At those points the film can be
maddening, just for undermining how good it is when it's on target.
Still, very worth seeing, and far more interesting than most of what
comes out of Hollywood.
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.Read more ›
The reviews came out and they were positive so I gave it a go, not expecting too much...boy was I wrong!
Filmed almost documentary style, gritty, snappy dialogue from the great two leads (Peria and Gyllenhaal) this is pretty much like a two hour episode of the superb US TV show The Shield.
Not just one of the surprise packages of the year, but one of the standout films of 2012.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm reviewing this on the basis that I had just watched Southland - Season 1-2 [DVD]  and felt that "End of Watch" is weak on characterisation and plot development in... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ken O'Neill
A truly gritty and excellent portrayal of a day in the life of LA cops. ++++++++Published 3 months ago by Steve Roxburgh
riveting thanks to great pace, excellent script and first rate acting. Hits the spot as a cop action film yet smuggles in something significant and memorable in too.Published 4 months ago by Ivan Casserly