December 02, 2013

End of Watch

End of Watch (2012) is a tense, spare cop thriller that works exceedingly well because of the bond between the two main characters, played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. They're partners and in a very real sense, brothers, who work the impoverished inner-city of Los Angeles. It's a world where a frantic woman calls for assistance because her babies--she claims--have been kidnapped, but they're then discovered to be duct-taped and locked in a closet. It's a world where drug cartels roam and carry out vengeance with reckless indifference to the threat of their own demises. The film is shot in gritty semi-documentary fashion and as such feels like something right out of a police log (at least to a viewer). The action always feels authentic, as does the goofy banter between the cops, who maintain a summer camp atmosphere when they're not chasing drug dealers and gang members. You have to wonder if this movie effected a spike in enlistment. It feels more than a bit like a tough-as-nails, violent valentine to the police force. Written and directed by David Ayer. With Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez, America Ferrera, Frank Grillo, Cody Horn, David Harbour, Cle Sloan, and Shondrella Avery. 108 min.

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