Cop drama brings realism and genuine emotion to tired genre
“End of Watch” is a thrilling, blood and bullet laced cop movie that’s as close to real as it can get, but includes the human elements of fear and family.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña play Los Angeles police officers Taylor and Zavala, two men who become like brothers.
The movie follows the officers’ lives as “ghetto cops,” as Taylor dubs them, as they soon become targets to members of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Directed and written by David Ayer of “Training Day” and “Harsh Times” fame, “End of Watch” shows a different sort of cop personality – these officers have morals.
We hear about their lives more than we see it, from conversations they hold in the patrol car. It’s there we know who the characters are.
Gyllenhaal and Peña portray police officers in more of a human light, instead of big Hollywood clichéd dynamic duos.
They play the parts right, in that the unbreakable bond officers Taylor and Zavala seems real.
In a scene where after both officers make it out of a burning building, Taylor tells Zavala, “I only went in because you did.”
Since this is set in southern Los Angeles, race plays a prominent part.
Taylor and Zavala poke fun at their cultural backgrounds with jokes so inappropriate, it’s appropriate.
Camera work is a first person account thanks to Taylor’s hand-held camera he is using for a film class he’s taking. It hangs around his neck, giving us an intimate feel, a heaping dose of realism.
The lives of the Mexican gangsters, portrayed almost comical — is actually close to truth, is seen through a hand held camera as well; in night vision, and black and white. Since there are no dramatic cinematic camera angles, it’s almost like watching a violent, on the job, home video.
Since we get to know Taylor and Zavala on a personal level, the ending will make your eyes water. Or laugh.
It’s an unconventional, yet authentic twist that makes you call these fictional characters brave. And perhaps appreciate your local police force.