‘End of Watch’ is not just another cop movie
February 28, 2013
Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a police officer would be like? Then I recommend seeing “End of Watch” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña.
The film is shot documentary style and follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves. I have to admit, once I realized the film was going to be shot like COPS for an entirety of 109 minutes, I was certain this would be a flop. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Much of the film is spent with officers Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Peña) in their squad car.The film’s rhythm is set by the day-in and day-out routine of police work.
The movie does a great job of keeping Brian and Mike swaying between boredom and adrenaline-pumping action, starting with Sarge (Frank Grillo), who reassigns them to the streets where they never know what will happen and finally to the paperwork at end of watch. They encounter some of the worst crimes they have ever been faced when on their day to day patrols—dead bodies, drugs, and human trafficking. The worst of the worst is a Latino gang with ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel that keeps surfacing. They are a scary crew with names like Big Evil, Wicked, La La and Demon with a rage that is full-blown crazy. Back in the car, the officers pass the time giving each other grief.
The guys show their soft side when talking about the women in their lives and how lost they would be without them there for support. However, the only relationship that really matters is the brotherhood between Brian and Mike. There is a lot of love in that car, and Peña and Gyllenhaal make you feel it. These moments, scattered throughout the film, always bring tension-releasing laughter, which we need as much as they do.
All in all, this movie is eye opening, heartwarming, and tear-jerking all at the same time. I highly recommend it to those who think it is just another cop movie. This one is a game changer.