Review: End of Watch (2012)

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End of Watch (2012)

Directed by: David Ayer | 109 minutes | crime, drama, thriller | Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Natalie Martinez, Anna Kendrick, David Harbour, Frank Grillo, America Ferrera, Cle Shaheed Sloan, Jaime FitzSimons, Cody Horn, Shondrella Avery, Everton Lawrence, Leequwid ‘Devil’ Wilkens

Two LAPD officers film each other with mini cameras clipped to the shirts. The sergeant doesn’t agree, but hey, a little macho can’t be stopped, right? Running those cameras, even if old ladies are found dead in broom closets.

It can be that simple, giving a twist to an exhausted genre like the police movie. The patrol couple Brian Taylor/Mike Zavala, played infectiously by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, are proud of what they do for society. And even if it mainly concerns scum that the cops pick up in South Central, the world is only getting a little better. The cameras do make Brian and Mike a bit overconfident, but that binds you as a viewer all the more to the sympathetic duo – again a golden outcome of the chosen angle, which creates credibility, tension and intimacy and is fluently embedded in regular camera work. .

It’s been a long time since a movie gave you such an opportunity to empathize with characters. They go for each other (literally) through fire, they test each other’s wives and have children. At the same time, the not-too-pleasant ‘footage’ is portrayed unadorned. Anyone who, after seeing the terrifying Hispanic gang from ‘End of Watch’, still dares to offer this kind of violence as entertainment, should come up with something new. Criticisms in the homeland that a caricature is sketched here of the concept of ‘bad guy’ do not outweigh the (docucu)dramatic impact.

‘End of Watch’ also offers a nice sociological insight into the police culture, where loyalty is necessary and weakness – including of women – is not tolerated, as well as the rise of the Latino in the US. For example, white Brian and Latino Mike involve each other on equal terms in their personal lives. A step for which director David Ayer, who previously wrote the screenplay for Training Day, reaps dramatic benefits at the end of this energetic, emotional film. His main actors also do an excellent job. As a viewer you don’t know whether to get excited, laugh or cry from ‘End of Watch’. Then all three.

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