“Once upon a time in South Central…” As the film begins, there lived two cops. One day they stumble upon the crime of a lifetime which labels them the number one target for the country’s most notorious drug cartel. Far from your average fairytale, this is an adrenaline pumping, gun wheeling, heart stomping action movie that blows all other cop films out of the water.
Officers Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Pena) are best friends and police partners who patrol the streets of LA protecting the city and arresting the bad guys. Fairly straight forward really, but throw in a Mexican drug cartel, some pretty horrific violence and a whole lot of guns, and you’ve got one spectacular movie.
End of Watch is filmed using a mixture of hand-held video cameras that Gyllenhaal’s character is using to document his work and the criminals are using to simply film what they get up to on an average day of crime-committing. This ‘Paranormal Activity effect’ gives way to an intimate and revealing view of the life of a cop, as well as the criminals, and adds to the intensity and thrilling situations that Gyllenhaal and Pena come across.
The characters of Taylor and Zavala are brilliant. Although they’re not the most popular officers within the LAPD, they always deliver and have even earned the respect from some of the city’s gang members. Working so closely together, Taylor and Zavala are more like brothers and share with each other the details of their lives, their pasts and their hopes for the future. This is where Anna Kendrick jumps in as Taylor’s love interest which adds another side to his character and makes the audience emphasise and ultimately cheer loudly (inside our heads) for his safety every time he enters a dangerous situation. The reality of the film is stunning and the superb direction from David Ayer (Training Day, S.W.A.T) really propels the story into the hearts and minds of the audience.
The Best Bits
Just about everything really. I absolutely love action movies and End of Watch takes it to a whole other level. From the word go, the energetic, ass-kicking action draws the audience into the world of the LAPD. Gyllenhaal is fantastic (as always) and delivers a performance of a lifetime. Support from Michael Pena and America Ferrera add magnificently to the cast and drive the plot onwards with themes of comedy and friendship. There is definitely something for everyone in this movie.
The Not So Good Bits
Nothing really. It’s quite a violent film however, far from your average romantic comedy, so if you can’t handle the blood, offensive language and scenes of quite a gory nature then this film probably isn’t for you. I must admit, I did squeal at a couple of scenes and the ending is pretty emotional, so don’t forget the tissues.
Overall, End of Watch has the balance perfect for all the elements a good movie should have, and this, is a great movie.
End of Watch hits UK cinemas 23 November.