Thursday, June 13, 2013

Film Review: End of Watch (2012)

End of Watch (Review)
United States/2012
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) are two young police officers working a beat of South Central. Taylor is recording his work for a school project, and Zavala is his partner. The very close partners share their lives - from their complicated relationships to their dangerous line of work.

The film automatically starts off during a chase with a monologue from Taylor - explaining his mindset - and ends in a fatal shooting. Taylor and Zavala return to work and being recording their lives. As police officers, they chase, fight, and shoot the criminals; on their small breaks, they humorously discuss their lives and their relationships - what they strive for. Eventually, Taylor and Zavala encounter a drug cartel and begin to investigate - the partners begin to dig into something they may not be able to climb out of.

I really enjoy the story in End of Watch. Taylor and Zavala's relationship is fully developed as two very close friends - they genuinely care for each other as family. And, I really felt a connection with both characters - they can be serious, they can laugh, they can cry - they are easily likable characters. Aside from the characters, the story keeps a captivating momentum throughout; the story is very humorous during the developmental scenes, and the action is thrilling during the rest - this combination of authentic humor and intense action sequences is masterfully blended creating a non-sop ride. The ending of the film looked like it was about to break the generic "Hollywood" formula, but it quickly flip-flops; I enjoyed the ending, nonetheless.

The acting is fantastic from the entire cast. Jake Gyllenhaal is very charismatic and genuine. Michael Pena is equally charismatic and genuine. The pair compliment each other greatly and have great chemistry; they feel like they've been partners for years. The side roles are also exceptional; the gangster performances are very real. The film is shot mostly as a mockumentary/found-footage, and also incorporates some traditional shooting. The shaky-cam may be too much for sensitive viewers, but it didn't bother me. The music is fantastic, really matching the tone of South Central, LA.

Overall, End of Watch is one of the most entertaining films of 2012; really showing the lives of two charismatic/likable cops, and entertaining all the way through with genuinely humorous dialogue, masterfully-made action sequences, and a gritty crime story. Every second of this film delivered in one way or another. A purchase is highly recommended.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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