End of Watch is a gritty cop drama written and directed by David Ayer (Training Day) and starring academy award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.
This movie punches you right in the gut, grabs ahold and doesn’t let go. The movie is filmed with the increasingly popular handy cam, giving it an intensely realistic feeling. You will be on the edge of your seat as you follow officers Bryan Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Pena) as they patrol the violent streets of L.A and become unknowingly entangled with a notorious drug cartel.
The chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Pena is unreal; you really believe they are best friends who have known each other for years. While Gyllenhaal is charming and intense, it’s Pena who steals the show. Pena is an extremely underrated actor.
End of Watch is gritty, intense and surprisingly violent; it’s definitely not for the weak. You will laugh, cry and maybe have an anxiety attack. Pena gives an award winning performance that will rip your heart out; I can see him being nominated for a Golden Globe this awards season. It’s a ride filled with emotions and the different handy cam angles gives a very interesting perspective; you get views from first hand angle as well as cop car dash cams and badge cams.
Another interesting technique is that we also get to see a few scenes in the perspective of the bad guys with their own film footage. The dialogue between Gyllenhaal and Pena is very realistic–you really get to know these two cops and their lives and you are fully immersed.
Be warned, you really get a first look at the life of a street cop on watch in the gang-ridden streets of L.A and it gets very graphic, Ayer is not afraid to shock you. If you want an intense ride you won’t forget, go see End of Watch. (4.5/5 stars)