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on 6 March 2017
..and one of my favorite films of all time. Two best buddy cops cruising the streets of LA trash talking each other and fighting crime. It'll make you laugh, have you sat on the edge of your seat during a shootout and you'll probably cry. It's brilliantly directed, the characters are funny and likable and very relatable.
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on 24 August 2016
Very realistic, gritty movie
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on 10 March 2016
3 1/2 stars -- There's nothing at all wrong with the performances here -- Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are two cops who together patrol a very rough section of Los Angeles, Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez play their respective wives. It's a conceit of the movie that Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) is filming as much as he can of his life as a cop, although his precinct captain isn't ecstatic about that. But even when he isn't deliberately filming, there are body cams, surveillance cams (for some very nasty bad guys), and car-interior dash cams -- and the all of the video thus generated ostensibly makes up what we see of their lives on the screen. The idea is to seem to show us, the viewer, an unfiltered view of the cops' lives, so the angles are odd, the visual quality is grainy at times. and the pace is hectic. Of course, the impression that this is all unfiltered is an illusion -- the director, David Ayer, has cut and shaped this pseudo-documentary material for his purposes, and these purpose seem to be to create a sense of tension and breathlessness as the cops go about their business. Such editing creates a sense of imminent threat in many situations ( the kinds of cameras ostensibly used here can see only so much, after all), and as we watch we are certainly caught up in the action in a way that we wouldn't be with more conventional pacing and filming. In a way, then, the movie is a triumph of style -- call it pseudo-documentary style -- and that style works to a certain extent.

There are limits, though. The characters and the plot and the situations are standard-issue crime drama: it's just the look that's different. The cops are sympathetic characters; courageous, honest, protective of one another, tough, sensitive. Their lives haven't hardened them, and as family men, they are exemplary. In a more conventionally-paced story, they might strike us as sentimentally idealized, but such is the pace here, that that doesn't strike us until later, when we're thinking over what we've seen. Without giving away too much of the plot, I can say that, in the course of doing their job, they run up against the Sinaloa drug cartel, that also seems to run a human trafficking operation. They soon learn that Federal officials have that group under surveillance, and that leads to some awkward moments -- the Feds want to make their moves in their own time, and Taylor and Zavala (Pena) feel compelled to take action when they feel people's lives are in danger, no matter what the Fed agenda is. Their interference, of course, is something that the cartel becomes aware of, and there's a set-up for a final confrontation. All of these kinds of plot complications are what I mean by "standard-issue crime drama," but credit where credit is due -- we see them through new eyes, as it were.

At bottom, though, it's a buddy-movie. Both the cops are very likeable, and for all the profane chatter of the dialogue, the movie is sentimental. If we grant Ayer his visual and editing choice and are thus susceptible to their expressive effects, you have to admit that the movie is well put-together. Ayer's only serious misjudgement, I think, is the final scene -- a conversation in the police car. Even so, I can imagine some viewers thinking that it works.
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on 21 January 2017
I'm not blown away but I wouldn't reject watching it again.

There's really not a whole deal, if anything, to write home about. Sometimes you write a piece and run with it, here's the result. Enjoy the fictional story, or movie in this case, and move on to the next.

Highlights issues, at some points throughout the film, that many otherwise wouldn't acknowledge. Can't say this really has a message, not that it's the intended purpose.

Good acting, says the armchair expert, and is entertaining.

Have a watch and make your own mind up.
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on 6 July 2015
'End of Watch' is exactly that to which the viewer will be looking after only a few minutes' encounter.

Filmed as though it's reality TV, with lots and LOTS of hand-held and fast cuts, this seemingly endless visual and aural cliche purports to chronicle the life and times of two LAPD uniforms tooling around the South Side in their black and white, encountering the kind of situations that happen on an average day's or night's ride. Yeah. Right. That these two careen from one amazing headline-making sensation to another seems not to faze our latter day Batman and Boy Blunder at all, nor does it faze writer/director David Ayer, either, otherwise it might've occurred to him that if just two ordinary cops can achieve so much so quickly and so accidentally, then what are LAPD's other thousand or so officers doing for their paychecks? Playing Scrabble?

With something as hapless as this is, there's always the hope that it's intentionally awful, that actually, it's going to be a satire of all those other 'true life' day-in-the-life essays with which the LAPD has for too long had to contend. But no. 'End of Watch' is genuinely intended to be taken seriously, and especially its central plot point, viz: that somewhere in Colombia, a drugs lord making a 20-second on-screen appearance (so not much chance of characterisation there, then) is so disgruntled with the behaviour of these two humorless macho nonenties that he orders a hit.

Why? Don't ask. Just take it that far-off drug lords aren't bothered about federal agencies and intelligence agencies or even detective squads. Nope. What drug lords are really interested in are uniformed cops who (a) haven't uncovered anything (b) don't know anything (c) haven't seen or heard or even understood anything and (d) aren't a threat to anyone. Let's just shoot 'em . . and never mind the flak that'll follow from so pointless an expenditure of bullets and manpower.

To be fair, the introduction of the Drug-Lord-Vengeance-Plot comes late in the movie, perhaps at the suggestion of one of the many producers -- to judge by the end credits, this movie seems to have more of 'em than the LAPD has cops -- who may have woken up to the fact that the rushes weren't funny or satirical or even watchable. A pity, then, that one of the legion of optimists who financed this tarradiddle didn't also have a re-think about The Gang, either, because the assorted bunch of laughable freaks who're ordered to kill our two non-heroes are straight from pantomime, really truly bad bad bad guys (and girls) who swear all the time just to show how bad they are.

Then again though, everybody swears. Mind-numbingly ear-achingly tediously so. They swear and swear and SWEAR, this to prove that the movie is authentic, the dialogue is authentic, the story is authentic, every last effin' moment is effin' authentic when. . . It's not. Not a single solitary moment of it.

Verdict: As vacuous as anything to emerge in the so-called cop genre for many a year, 'End of Watch' has nothing to say, nothing to show, and nothing remotely to engage the viewer's interest. Come back Frank Drebin. All is forgiven.
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on 20 March 2013
Filmed in a documentary style, those who are familiar with t.v show Southland which follows 2 groups of LAPD cops & homicide detectives will know what to expect here. End Of Watch exclusively follows LAPD street cops Brian Taylor(Jake Gyllenhaal-Donnie Darko) & Mike Zavala (Michael Peña-Shooter) through they're daily work routine in the badlands of South Central Los Angeles, as they watch each others back & they're home lives as close friends with they're relationships out of work. As LAPD cops they find themselves stuck between a power struggle with Black & Latino gangs fighting over the neighborhood they patrol, they uncover some big drug & human trafficking busts, which attracts the unwanted attention of a Mexican cartel, who sign they're death warrant's.

At the start, End Of Watch jumps in with both feet with an exciting police car mounted camera opening chase sequence, that gives way to a mixture of more slower pace with the cops bonding at work joking around in they're patrol car & the sub plots of they're home lives with they're families to break things up & get more of an emotional connection to the two lead characters. Combined with the main plot of some tense & gruesome discoveries while on the job, which highlights how dangerous they're work is. Which all culminates into one helluva big, exciting & fraught emotional finale, as these buddy cops face they're own Alamo on their front door step.

Jake Gyllenhaal & Michael Peña are perfectly cast in they're respected roles, they are real nice people who you can't help but like & have to turn on a hard exterior when confronting the bad guys. They made the whole film feel totally believable as a result, following them through unknown situations heightened the tenseness & suspense of each encounter, as you don't want to see any harm come to them. The support cast is on good form as well, Natalie Martinez (CSI: New York) as Peña's wife & Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) as Gyllenhaal's girlfriend added weight to the emotional side of the job perfectly.

Note, being in a documentary style the hand held camera used by Gyllenhaal(plus the gangs) & the mini camera's they wear on their uniforms are mostly bouncing around quite a lot and there is even some FPS style gun play, so if you don't like that kind of genre made popular by the Blair Witch Project etc... or you are susceptible to motion of a camera, you may not like this style. But on the other hand, if you enjoy that & programs like Southland, i think you will enjoy it a lot. I recently got into Southland & gripped by it, and this is basically more of them same tension filled excitement with higher production values.

In conclusion, End Of Watch doesn't consist of constant endless action scenes, if that's what your solely looking for. It mixes slow paced drama with some tense thrilling moments & a sprinkling of well done action sequences that make the whole thing worthwhile come the finale pay off. Recommended.
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on 6 July 2017
Great film with some real chemistry between the two leads and the supporting cast. Verging on a fly-on-the-wall documentary, this film is as funny as it is sad.
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on 20 October 2016
Strap a gopro onto the harness of a dog and that is the hand-held 'cinematography' style you get with this high school arts class project film. It is a dreadful glitch in the resume's of the two main actors who have proved themselves in real movie productions. In a word,...crap!
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on 21 January 2017
Just an updating of all the old familiar cop movie melodramas, with added racism in the casting of all the villains.
It also re-treads the tired old buddy movie formats. It's Top Gun with more swear words.
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on 5 October 2016
Complete Sh.t could only watch the first 30 minutes. Can't believe people give it 4/5 stars
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