End of Watch (2012)

End of Watch (2012)
  • Time: 109 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: David Ayer
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick


In South Central Los Angeles, street cops Brian and Mike are partners – balls-out cowboys patrolling the streets as Latino gangs are in a power struggle with Blacks. Brian and Mike get lucky a couple of times, making big drug and human-trafficking busts, so a Mexican cartel orders their deaths. We meet Mike’s pregnant wife (whom he married out of high school) and watch Brian’s search for a soul mate. There are internal squabbles within the ranks of the LAPD and lots of squad-car conversation. Can the lads escape the cartel’s murderous reach?


  • I thought this was a very good movie and has a real life story line that people should see. It is not a movie for kids whatsoever, since it is a brutal representation of cop life. With that being said getting past the roughness you have an incredible movie. It breaks against the mold and gives you a real life perceptive of cop drama. How street cops are treated as well in the turf wars.

    The individual distinct story-lines that are intertwined in this film were very well done, but the focal piece is two cops in south la. I love that it didn’t have a Hollywood ending at all. Reality is most these cops in district 13 and 9 die in action, sometimes even brutal death. Most these cops never get recognition of the heroic actions they do against drug cartels.

    I rate this movie a 9 out of 10. I thinks cops especially street cops as these two portray would find this the most genuine representation of any cop movie ever made. Heat has nothing on this movie.

  • David Ayer has forged a pretty decent career examining the darker corners of Los Angeles and the cops and criminals that inhabit it. While the writer/director has pained officers of the law with heavy shades of grey in the likes of Training Day (2001), Dark Blue (2002) and Street Kings (2008), End of Watch is one big salute to the boys in blue. While the partners at the centre of the story occasionally enjoy a ruckus and bend the rules when the situation calls for it, they are undoubtedly the good guys worthy of every medal going. In order to place the audience right in the firing line, the film is shot documentary-style using miniature cameras.

    Old friends and long-time partners Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) are beat cops, patrolling the streets of South Central L.A. and answering calls for anything from domestic violence to come gruesome murders committed by the Sinaloa Cartel. For a ‘project’, Brian decides to record everything he and Mike experience while on patrol, fixing cameras to their bodies for a full POV perspective. Outside of the force, Brian and Mike are the best of friends, with Brian starting a relationship with the spunky Janet (Anna Kendrick) and the two double-dating with Mike and his wife. But unbeknown to them, the Cartel have placed a target on their heads after they expose a cell for human trafficking.

    Your opinion of End of Watch will most likely depend on your stance on the ‘found footage’ genre. It’s been done to death, especially in the past few years, and here it feels like its employment is a gimmick designed to make it stand out from the barrage of cop movies that are churned out of every year, although it does add a sense of reality to the action. Along with Brian and Mike’s mini-cams, the gang of Surenos employed by the Cartel also film each other as they talk tough about killing cops and swear a lot. Ayer also uses an extra camera on occasion, even when there are no characters there to stand behind it. It’s an uneven and almost redundant tactic, that it’s a wonder why Ayer didn’t simply stick to the film’s main hook of having the actors film each other.

    One of the most impressive things about End of Watch is the chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Pena. Both deliver terrific, believable performances, and their in-car banter provides most of the laughs. While their chest-puffing, overly-masculine chit-chat and behaviour does become somewhat exhausting, they are likeable, down-to-earth company. It also depicts a truly terrifying Los Angeles, with the streets brimming with danger and violent thugs ready to pounce. It almost feels like some war-torn country at the other side of the world rather than the city often portrayed as exciting and glamorous in cinema. It’s very much a mixed bag overall – a silly action climax betrays the gritty realism that comes before – but there are many palm-wetting moments to be admired.

    Rating: 3/5

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