End of Watch
The idea of 'found footage' made popular by The Blair Witch Project has subsequently taken over the horror genre lately. It’s begun to leak into other genres too, from monster movies (Cloverfield) to superhero movies (Chronicle) to comedies (Project X). Now it has sunk its claws into the cop movie, with writer/director David Ayer – a stalwart of the cop movie having written Training Day, Dark Blue, Harsh Times and S.W.A.T. – using it to reinvigorate proceedings.
Patrolmen Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Michael Pena) are partners and best friends working in the toughest district of South Central Los Angeles. Brian has a small camcorder that he brings with him everywhere for a college project, and he uses this to record his and his partners every move. Before long they cross paths with a very violent Mexican gang, who conveniently like to record their every move, too. It’s from these two angles that we watch their eventual head-on collision; one which Brian and Mike have no idea is coming.
Between the exciting car chases, house fires and shoot outs, we get a glimpse of the private lives of Brian and his new girlfriend Janet (Anna Kendrick, adorable) and Mike and his loving wife Gabby (Natalie Martinez, spunky), as well as the unbreakable bond between these two men who would do anything for each other. The natural rapport between Gyllenhaal and Pena is a rare sight in the modern cop movie, as they have real natural chemistry and don’t just feel like two actors who’ve been forced to work together.
Unfortunately, the downside comes from behind the camera, or perhaps the camera itself; while the found-footage format does work most of the time, there are occasions when the shaky, in-your-face aesthetic gets annoying. There are also times when you’ll be confusedly asking yourself 'Who is holding the camera in this scene?' which takes you out of the action completely. Fortunately, these issues are sporadic, and mostly fall to the wayside for the tense, climatic 20 minutes. End Of Watch may be uneven in parts, but it is also one of the most realistic portrayals of police work since 90’s TV show Cops.
Review by Rory Cashin | 16:58 | Friday 9th November 2012 | Movie Review
i saw a preview of end of watch with my girlfriend ,although the two main characters and the supporting cast work very well together,the story just ends with no resolve. the film itself is funny in parts but on the whole it just left me wondering what was happening. the movie got 5 stars in the states but i was just wondering what the yanks saw in this movie that i didn't ,i would give it 2 starsPosted 10:02 | Sun 25th Nov 2012
Worth seeing, if only for the excellent interplay between Gyllenhaal and Pena. The plot device of the 'found footage' is not really used as much as in the likes of 'Blair Witch' or 'Paranormal Activity' so the questions of 'how and why' are not really as relevant. Some excellent action set-pieces, humour and direction by Ayer.Posted 18:57 | Mon 26th Nov 2012
I would give this 2/5 stars. I am really tired of hand-held camera films - especially those that explain who is filming (Gyllenhaal's character is apparently majoring in Film at college and is making a movie using a hand-held camera & hidden camera on his shirt) but then we get aerial shots, scenes following the "gangsters" in their car (who was filming them, where did they get the footage?) etc. Its just unexplained and pointless - why don't they just make it a traditional movie? Also, I find the "gangsters" so contrived and silly really. They reminded me of the bad kids in school in movies like Gangsters Paradise et al. I also hated the pace of the film. There were so many unnecessary (for me) moments such as Gyllenhaals wedding (with a girl who looks too young for him and who he only started dating). *SPOILER* - How the hell did Gyllenhaal survive. Ridiculous.Posted 15:11 | Wed 28th Nov 2012
Interesting in parts but overall boreing with no real ending, 2 stars at best.Posted 11:27 | Wed 12th Dec 2012
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