Released on Friday, “End of Watch” has been somewhat overshadowed by its competition, but it should most definitely not be overlooked. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, the film focuses on the lives of two young cops, both on- and off-duty, who are based in Los Angeles. Although it stars well-known Hollywood actors, it feels more like a documentary than a high action, big budget movie.
Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Pena) are partners who face the dangers of fighting crime, consisting of gang violence and homicide, in LA. The film goes back and forth between story lines of the LA based sector of an infamous cartel and the two officers continuously interrupting the gang’s plans. The officers take it upon themselves to continue investigating the cartel, not knowing how truly dangerous and powerful they are. The storyline comes to its turning point when a bounty is placed on both Taylor and Zavala, leading to an ending that delivers both drama and action.
One of the most appealing aspects of the film is the point of view camera styling. There have been plenty of movies made about cops fighting crime, but none that are quite as realistic as “End of Watch.” Nearly every scene is shot from either Officer Taylor’s hand held camera, or cameras located inside of the cop car.
The overall effect is powerful, allowing the audience to more strongly connect to the characters. It also adds to the suspense and drama that the film provides, making it seem like you are actually alongside the cops as they patrol the streets of Los Angeles.
Besides the typical action scenes one would expect to find, much of the movie is dedicated to the relationship Taylor and Zavala have after having gone through the daily hardships of their job. The development of this relationship is also where much of the comic relief is provided; most people do not expect to walk into an action thriller and find themselves smiling, but there is no shortage of laughter. The officers’ personalities are what make the film so relatable, something that is not easily done in a movie of this genre.
The biggest selling point for “End of Watch” is the way the film allows the audience to connect and sympathize with the characters. The audience gets to see inside the mind of a police officer who faces gang violence and death everyday of their lives. As the film progresses, you learn to understand their reasoning to \wake up every morning despite what is going on in their personal lives, and continue to do what they do. The film is funny, suspenseful, entertaining and most of all, touching. It is a must-see and will not disappoint.