19:44 EST, 22 November 2012
20:49 EST, 22 November 2012
END OF WATCH (15)
Verdict: Cop film for the YouTube generation
If you’ve seen any of David Ayer’s previous films, you’ll have detected a combination of respect and loathing for the Los Angeles Police Department.
His anti-heroes have usually been insane cops: played by Denzel Washington in Training Day, Kurt Russell in Dark Blue and Christian Bale in Harsh Times. Compared with those, End Of Watch is a love letter to his local police force.
It’s essentially a buddy picture about two best friends (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena) who also happen to be working partners in a crime car.
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Good cop and good cop: Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal star as police officers out to help their community
The film shows the pair in action, with car chases, shoot-outs and various unpleasant discoveries in innocent-looking buildings. And they’re unequivocally good guys, serving the community even when the community doesn’t deserve them.
Like many other police procedurals, the film shows us the cops’ home lives, and for a change they’re not dysfunctional. One has a lovely wife (Natalie Martinez) and baby. The other has a new girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) who’s gorgeous and full of life. What could possibly go wrong?
Plot-wise, there’s nothing here you won’t have seen before, and older viewers may be reminded of that seminal TV series, Z Cars. It could all be a bit dull and worthy, were it not for the style.
It seems that everyone in the picture — good guys and bad — has a camera and is intent on immortalising himself on YouTube. This makes for jerky, hand-held shooting but also adds much to the sense of reality.
The two leading performances are exemplary in their honesty and good-heartedness, with Gyllenhaal in particular showing why he’s a star.
In many respects, the whole film looks like a heartfelt apology by Ayer for the rest of his oeuvre.
This is his way of showing us there are good cops out there, and we owe them a hell of a lot.
Now watch the trailer
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End Of Watch: Action police drama gives a good cops a rave review