Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena give great performances in this cop thriller based in Los Angeles. In spite of the fact that much of the movie is filmed using the hand-held camera style of Cloverfield or Paranormal Activity, which I am not fond of, at least they worked it into the plot line with Gyllenhaal’s character recording his daily life for a project he is working on for film making class and as part of their record of their activities as police officers.
In this crime drama, director David Ayer (from Training Day) takes you inside the real everyday lives of LA police officers who put their lives on the line each time they pin on their badges and go out to “Protect and Serve”. Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal’s character) and Mike Zavala (Pena’s character) are two young cops who have just returned to duty after a shooting investigation, and are assigned to LA’s south central district, home to the worst of LA’s gangs and drug cartels. As they go about their jobs, catching bad guys and investigating convenience store robberies, they stumble upon a situation that peeks their curiousity and gives them the urge to go deeper than a street officer should. Their investigation lands them in the middle of a human trafficking and drug smuggling ring and they screw up a federal investigation that had been ongoing for months. They are warned by the feds to back off because they’re getting involved in something they do not want to mess with.
The film is a story of family, dedication, crime, drama, and gives an insight into what goes on in the minds of the gang bangers and drug lords, but also how being in a police officer’s family impacts every facet of the daily lives of their wife and children. It follows Taylor and Zavana through their dating troubles, engagements, wedding, and birth of their children as the drug cartel sees them only as an inconvenience to be eliminated and puts a price on their lives and a target on their backs.
“End of Watch” sometimes gets tedious which is why I don’t usually care for the handheld camera style of movie making, because, for me, it is difficult to watch. I have to admit, I prefer Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain or in his other sexy good looking roles as opposed to the shaven headed cop he plays in this movie, but the action is good, as are the car chases, and the drama. So all in all, I feel it is a good movie worth seeing.
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