End of Watch

Director: David Ayer

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña and Anna Kendrick

It may be hard to get excited about another cop movie. Television and film bombard us with the boys in blue, and more often than not the results are less than stellar.   End of Watch is a gritty and dark cop drama that manages to stand apart from the typical Hollywood fare.  The film focuses on two LAPD officers who bite off more than they can chew by unknowingly interfering with a Mexican drug cartel.

Director David Ayer (Street Kings)

is quite comfortable in the cop genre.  He wrote two underwhelming cop dramas



Dark Blue

, and the  exceptional Oscar winning

Training Day

.  Ayer's affinity for law enforcement will continue with his next endeavor,


,  which  supports the return of

Arnold Schwarzenegger

as a leading man.

Oscar nominee

Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain and The Source Code)

proves why he is one of the top actors of his generation.  A future Oscar win is not an" if" but just a matter of "when" for Gyllenhaal.  There is not a moment of screen time where you do not fully believe that he is an ambitious LAPD officer.  Oscar nominee

Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air and The Twilight Saga)

gives an impressive performance, albeit brief,  as Gyllenhaal’s love interest.  This relationship grounds the movie to a large extent.  The stress and violence of the film would eventually make an audience numb.  The tenderness of their relationship is a reminder that, amidst the violence, there is a life to be had once the badge is removed at the end of watch.

Michael Peña (Crash and Battle Los Angeles)

is Gyllenhaal’s partner.  Peña and Gyllenhaal’s chemistry on screen is close to perfect.  Both men spent five months riding along with real LAPD officers. That five months was well spent.  There are several  improvised scenes in the film which feel effortless in the framework of the story.  That effortlessness is a testament to the talent of these two actors.  The film blends the officer's personal and work lives over a period of several months; culminating in a violent confrontation that changes both of their lives.  I will not say that this film offered anything new to the cop genre, but I will say that End of Watch does it better than most.  This is a solid effort full of tension, tenderness  and violence. Well worth an afternoon at the movies.



7 out of 10



Jamie Clemons