End of Watch Review

by Stephen Bourne (iamstephenbourne AT gmail DOT com)
October 1st, 2012

Review: End of Watch (2012)
USA, 109 minutes, Rated 18A (ON) 13+ (QC)
Reviewed 09/12, (c) Stephen Bourne

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena star as hot shot LAPD patrol partners Officer Brian Taylor and Officer Mike Zavala in this semi-found footage drama from writer/director David Ayer that slowly turns from bad to worse for these beat cops when they stumble upon evidence they shouldn't have and attract the deadly attention of South Central Hispanic gangster Santiago 'Big Evil' Flores and his trigger-happy Curbside Locotes gang.

What's particularly memorable about End of Watch is the camerawork. It's shown early on that Gyllenhaal's Taylor is taking a filmmaking class, explaining the constant video presence during his and Zavala's shifts and off-duty lives. Further footage comes from the patrol car camera and other sources, giving a paying audience a fully immersive and oftentimes gritty point of view - especially when all hell eventually breaks loose. However, what begins as found footage is soon wonderfully augmented by selectively introduced traditionally-shot scenes from cinematographer Roman Vasyanov that capture even more of Gyllenhaal and Pena's outstanding performances and those of this amazing supporting cast. Top marks to Ayer for recognizing this need and implementing it so tremendously well.

Ayer's sense of believable dialogue is also phenomenal here, providing this on-screen duo with an uncanny wealth of natural insight and unassuming banter to work cinematic magic with in-character as they effortlessly lure you into their professional and personal worlds throughout this 109-minute picture. Unfortunately, that also becomes a problem because there's such an overabundance of it. To the point where those scenes feel like meandering filler. We get that they click. We get they're a perfect match as patrol partners. They nail it five minutes in. Get on with the movie already. The bromance turns into an exhausting chore to sit through, frankly.

Beyond the big screen, the official website at http://www.endofwatchthefilm.com/ has the usual synopsis and galleries, but also offers up dossiers and rap sheets of this flick's key characters and gives Facebook users the chance to create your own as either a gangster or law enforcer. Clicking the site's Facebook link brings up more galleries and notes there without needing to login, as well as showcases the movie's soundtrack on iTunes.

Check out this effort as a cheap matinee or small screen rental for the memorably great performances and clever camerawork throughout, but don't be surprised if the slow paced storytelling further dragged out by the script's curiously relentless bromance obsession leaves you bored long before the real action starts. Reviewed 09/12, (c) Stephen Bourne

End of Watch is rated 18A by the Ontario Film Review Board for occasional gory/grotesque images, very intense/aggressive coarse language, slurs and sexual references, illustrated or verbal references to drugs, alcohol or tobacco, occasional upsetting or disturbing scenes, substance abuse, mild sexual innuendo, tobacco use, violent acts shown in clear, unequivocal and realistic detail with blood and tissue damage, and limited instances of brief, visually explicit portrayals of violence, and is rated 13+ by la Regie du Cinema in Quebec.


Tags: Movie review, Stephen Bourne, moviequips
Tags: End of Watch, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena

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