Movie Review: “End of Watch”- Watch your Six

Written by Ethan Butler October 23, 2012

Never before have I seen a police drama that has affected me as much as this film. David Ayer’s “End of Watch” should be on everyone’s top ten films of the year list, as it is a stunningly brutal, honest, funny, and an emotional thrill ride. After viewing this brilliant piece of filmmaking I found myself physically shook up as a result of just how gritty and literally in your face the film is. “End of Watch” succeeds on so many levels, and it completely delivers in all imaginable ways as it is funny enough to elicit more than one laugh, brutal enough to shake you to your core, and emotional enough to leave you in tears.

The Ride of Your Life

The film is about two LAPD police officers, Officer Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Officer Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) who after a series of successful arrests come across a horrifying discovery that puts them right in the cartel’s crosshairs. The story is partly told through a handheld camera that Officer Taylor is using to create a project for a film class that he is taking. Seeming like the most intense ride-along anyone will ever have… ever. The film simply stunning in all aspects, thanks in large part to the remarkable performances from its lead actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.

“I am the Police, I am here to arrest you”

There is almost no word that is adequate enough to describe how incredible the acting in this film was, both Gyllenhaal and Pena deliver career best performances as police officers Taylor and Zavala. The chemistry between them is unbelievable, one could rightly believe that they had been best friends, and partners on the LAPD for years. The bond that they portray is completely honest, and true to the bond that police all over the world share with each other. Many times throughout the film they refer to each other as “brother”; this bond is beautifully portrayed by the actors as the film progresses as we see too men who without question would lay down their lives for each other. The film almost solely rests on their relationship being believable and they both deliver, both actors deserve serious awards attention for their respective turns. Also with a strong supporting cast that features Oscar Nominee Anna Kendrick, this film is one of the most well acted of the year.


“We Stand Watch Together”

In the wrong hands the “found footage” style of filmmaking can be nothing more than a gimmick, luckily in the hands of Director David Ayer it is nothing short of art. The usage of this handheld style only makes the film more engrossing, and thrilling. When watching the film you are right there with Officers Taylor and Zavala as they work in one of the more dangerous areas of LA. This ride along, so to speak, is made all the more visceral, brutal, and emotionally gripping because the camera makes the events happening on screen all too real. It assists in painting a gritty portrait of the dangers that police face on a daily basis in the line of duty.

“I am Consequence”

“End of Watch” is truly a remarkable film, one that stays with you long after the credits have stopped rolling. It is filled with absolutely stunning career best, award worthy performances from Gyllenhaal and Pena, a crackling script, and viscerally thrilling action. Along with it being painstakingly emotional, and very funny the film does what few cop dramas before it have ever done- it showcases an honest, at time disturbing, look into the lives of those who put their lives on the line in order to keep us safe from harm. “The thin-blue-line, protecting the prey from the predators, the good from the bad. We are the police.”

My Rating: 9/10

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