Thursday, September 26, 2013

End of Watch (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) (2012)

End of WatchDirected by David Ayer, "End of Watch" is a police drama that celebrates the value of friendship and the all too frequently unsung efforts of police officers to try to keep the rest of us free from the violence and evil the officers constantly endure. The movie is set on a rough police beat in South Central Los Angeles and follows the activities of two young officers, Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhall) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) as they cruise the streets and fight crime. Some scenes of the movie take place in the police academy or the stationhouse and show the cameraderie among the men and the women in uniform.

The movie is a mix of introspection and action. Brian and Mike depend upon each other for their lives, and they are fast friends. As they drive the streets they discuss their families, their respective ethnicities and backgrounds, their dreams and their women. Mike has been married to his high school sweetheart for eight years, while Brian has found a new romantic interest that develops in the course of the movie. The two men are close in a macho sort of way.

When not in their car, the movie depicts the life of violence and risk in the day-to-day world of the police in a crime-ridden area. The movie shows a variety of calls, some serious some not, as Brian and Mike look for missing kids, investigate drugs in a sleazy bar, engage in fisticuffs with a small-time crook, rescue small children from a burning home, and much more. Not all the the situations are made clear. As the movie develops, the action revolves around a large Mexican drug cartel that has its grip on the South Central LA Beat. Brian and Mike are drawn progressively deeper into investigating this cartel with scenes of human trafficking, among other things, leading to a escalating violent close.

The movie captures grungy streets, shabby businesses, and derelict homes as well as a life of constant danger for the officers. One of the officers shoots videos of the passing scenery from the patrol car, giving much of the film a wavery feel to match the actions on the dangerous streets. The musical score of the film is loud, tension building, and pulsating.

The dialogue, from both the police and the criminals, is raw and fully profane. The police in this movie are honest, dedicated to their calling, and willing to assume the frightening risks they take every day. They are tough individuals, both the men and the women, and not saints. Particularly as the violent cartel figures come to prominence towards the end, the movie is effective as an action drama. The stronger theme of the movie, however, lies in its development of the friendship between the two major characters. During a time when the services and characters of the police are not always honored, this movie offers a portrayal of the grittily heroic qualities of the police and their work.

Robin Friedman

First of all, let me say that I am not a professional movie critic. So, I am just going to evaluate the movie based on my personal experience and enjoyability of the film. This film was phenomenal. It was very well directed. The plot was very credible and for those working on law enforcement, it will seem too accurate. The actors nailed it. It was also filmed like "Cloverfield", to make you believe that you are part of the action as a first person viewer. That was my only complaint. Since, this type of filming seems to give me headaches. Overall, I would give this film 5 stars based on the following: enjoyability, credibility, acting, costumes/clothing, special effects and plot delivery/transition and conclusion. This is not your typical "happy ending" cop movie. So, if you want a happy ending fake cop movie, do not bother watching this one. Great movie, overall. Very well portrayed.

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If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be a beat cop in L. A. without the danger, this David Ayer film may be as close as you'll get. Shot in the overused "found footage" style, we get a tension filled action drama with excellent character development and sense of realism. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena give memorable performances as partners who are also best friends and confidants, each inviting the other into their extended families.

Officers Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Pena) are hot shot cops who want to do more than make traffic arrests while patrolling a mixed gang section of L. A. Sometimes heroic (rescuing children from a burning house or from an abusive home) and sometimes foolish (not waiting for backup) they manage to stumble upon an arm of a Mexican cartel involved in human trafficking. Taylor is filming everything as a project for a class he is taking at a local college. In addition to using a small traditional HD camera, he attaches mini cameras to himself and his partner. The squad car is also enhanced with an inward focused camera in addition to the normal outbound dash-cam.

This works most of the time. The trick works best when it captures the two cops in their car talking to each other. We get a real sense of their camaraderie and brotherly love for each other. It also works well when they enter homes and buildings. When we only get to see what they are seeing, there is a true sense of dread and concern. The effect doesn't always work however. Doesn't it seem a bit unusual to see a co-ed cluster of gang-bangers also shooting footage? For what, their trial? In the most flagrant use of the home video, who is taking those midrange shots of the cops while they chit chat in a convenience store? "End of Watch" is a solid, exciting, gut wrenching cop drama and is certainly worth seeing although you may feel a bit dizzy when it's all over.

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My husband is a cop and i a dispatcher. We don't live in south central LA where the crime rate is this high. But, this movie hits all aspects for true life patrol officers. Most officers will relate to the scenes and "sayings" of the charachters. It is one of the best and most realistic cop movies we've seen....with a great story.

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This is the Job I know .... There is finally a Good Cop movie out there for people to watch that is the most real to being "ON THE JOB" !!! enjoy !

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