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End Of Watch—movie review

by Leonard Maltin
September 21, 2012 1:00 AM
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End of Watch-1a-680

David Ayer grew up in the volatile neighborhood of South Central L.A. and has mined his experiences in such films as Training Day andHarsh Times. He has a particular fascination with the L.A.P.D., but End of Watch, which he wrote and directed, isn’t simply more of the same. By casting two talented actors (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) who have an exceptional rapport with one another, he manages to humanize and literalize the day-to-day lives of cops who never know what they’re going to face when they set out on their rounds. 

Ayer and his cinematographer, Roman Vasyanov, mount their camera in the hood of the police car, so we vicariously experience what it’s like for two partners to spend all day, every day, cooped up together. The only way to even out the extremes of their job, which can be routine one day and violent or disgusting the next, is to indulge in a non-stop conversation laced with teasing humor. This brand of black comedy may take some getting used to, but it feels honest.

We take in the absurdities, insults, threats, and backroom politics these career officers deal with on a regular basis, and see how they try to offset  personal lives with their work, a precarious balancing act at best.

Gyllenhaal and Peña work together like a well-oiled machine, as if they really had spent months or years in each other’s company. Their dialogue feels raw and spontaneous. They are well supported by a strong cast including Natalie Martinez, Anna Kendrick, David Harbour, Frank Grillo, and America Ferrera.

End of Watch doesn’t offer any particular message or moral; this isn’t a metaphoric kind of movie. David Ayer has given us a straightforward, often visceral portrait of men at work in what may be the most difficult job on earth.  

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  • William Schwenke | February 1, 2013 1:27 AMReply

    What is the song called @ the funeral part? That sad slow, foreign song? (I think). Anyone have any idea on what that song is?

  • loretta beer | November 12, 2012 10:35 PMReply

    I did not like the movie. how typical two smart assed cops who think they know everything. It would have been better if they were humble. maybe it may have been better if they had a male and female team. It was like a bad Law and Order episode.

  • konrad o | October 10, 2012 1:51 AMReply

    That song when Gyllenhall is gettin it on with his girl is great, anyone have any leads?

  • snidely | October 7, 2012 11:53 PMReply

    What is the song that was playing at the funeral.something about "take a man and put him in the cold ground"?

  • Naty | October 2, 2012 6:16 PMReply

    It's called "Hey Ma'" by Cam'Ron.

  • sarah | October 2, 2012 3:25 PMReply

    what is the name of the song where brian and janet are in the car driving and singing?

  • Al | January 28, 2013 3:52 PM

    Hey Ma by Cam'ron

  • Steven Lee Youngblood | September 22, 2012 4:59 AMReply

    What is the name of the song that played when Brian Taylor was making out with his girlfriend Janet, in his bed room in the movie "End Of Watch"? I love that song, but I do not know the title or artist!

  • Sherry | October 1, 2012 2:54 PM

    Mazzy Star "Fade Into You"...was driving me crazy what the song was..Heard it over a year ago on an alternative radio station but never heard the artist or the song again till this past weekend when I saw the movie. Love it!

  • Jonathan | September 21, 2012 1:55 AMReply

    Can't wait to watch it!

  • carlos | September 28, 2012 7:51 AM

    im dying to know that song

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