In Review: End of Watch on Blu-ray

by Neil Sheppard on 01/04/2013


David Ayer is an odd one. From writing the deliriously over-the-top carsploitation movie The Fast and The Furious (2001) and starting an infamous franchise of dubious quality, he went on, in the same year, to write dark and gritty cop thriller Training Day (2001), which earned critical plaudits and an Oscar for Denzel Washington. Now he’s directing his own scripts and his latest is a combination of exploitation and art.

End of Watch (2012) starts as a found footage movie, with the premise that irreverent Los Angeles cop Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) has enrolled in a college film-making course and is using hidden cameras to illegally film his night shift with partner Mike (Michael Peña) for material. This concept is almost instantly abandoned as the action switches to local gangbangers filming their crimes with cameras of their own, before mixing in shots that couldn’t possibly be from any of the established viewpoints.

This pretty much says it all about a movie that is far more concerned with style than consistency. The events of the story push your suspension of disbelief way beyond the realms the Cops-style reality TV policing that the film apes. The message seems to be that cops may perform heroic deeds, but they’re just ordinary people stumbling through life like anyone else. The implication is that this makes them even more heroic, but while this is a worthy message, there’s not a lot more to it than that. As such, the movie is left adrift, wanting to do more than just entertain, but lacking anything really deep to say.

Still, there’s some great dialogue and Gyllenhaal’s usual quirky characterisation with Pena’s vastly underestimated talents manage to ground the film and make you genuinely care about the characters, despite their casual disregard for professionalism or good taste. This is enough to pull you along on an emotional rollercoaster as you follow the amusing ups and gut-wrenchingly tragic downs of their day-to-day lives. You’ll want to like the movie and be impressed by the effort put in, but come out wondering if there’s supposed to be a deeper point that’s flown over your head.

Neil has awarded End of Watch three and a half Torches of Truth

3 torches croppedRating-HalfTorch









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