Friday, September 21, 2012

END OF WATCH (review)

Produced by John Lesher and David Ayer
Starring  Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, 
Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez, 
America Ferrera, Frank Grillo, David Harbour
Written and Directed by David Ayer 

End of Watch mixes a cop of the street drama with the found footage storytelling genre and does so with enormous success.

The film centers on L.A. police officers Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) who in the course of doing their job, find themselves the target of a drug cartel.

It sounds pretty basic, and it is.  If you watch Los Angeles based cop series like The Shield or Southland, it's pretty familiar territory. 

Except for one thing, and that's the palpable chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Peña, which results in the best career performances from both actors.  Writer-director David Ayer depicts the brotherhood of these two men that goes beyond the job. 

Like Chronicle, the footage comes from a character filming which is combined with various ancillary cameras from around the environment (police car cameras, security cameras, etc.). 

At times, End of Watch isn't really about much (even the main plotline of the drug cartel doesn't really make much sense), but it doesn't matter.  It's engrossing, intense and one of the best films of the year anchored by fantastic performances throughout.  Highly recommended.

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