Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Movie Review: End of Watch
David Ayer makes some damn good cop movies. Training Day (writer), Harsh Times, and now End of Watch. The film isn't perfect, in fact, it's kind of odd, but overall it's safe to say Ayer's latest cop drama is a damn good movie.
So End of Watch is a kind of sort-of, found footage type film. Stop right there, I know what you're thinking: "I hate all these Paranormal Activity type found footage crap fest movies of the past few years." Yeah I know, me too. Luckily, End of Watch isn't like that. It goes like this:
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are two cops patrolling the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles. Gyllenhaal's character is also taking a college film class, so he goes around recording his daily work routine. I thought this plot device was kind of lame at first but then I realized it's a cool way to show car chases and heighten tension, walking into a dark house from the cop's perspective, etc. etc. Also, the film does not consist entirely of "found footage" stuff. Ayer utilizes some crazy handheld camera work, and chooses some unconventional shots/angles, which appear to blend seamlessly into the rest of the footage and successfully draws the viewer into Gyllenhaal and Pena's world.
That's basically the what the film is about. The plot is kind of irrelevant. The core of the film is Gyllenhaal and Pena's AMAZING chemistry together. We follow these two cops in their patrol car and become so engrossed in their partnership that by the end of the film, they feel like real people that we know and care for.
Also, I just love LA movies. Hollywood may sit in Southern California, but they don't film jack here anymore and if they do, it's in a sound stage or the same yuppie ass parts of town they always use. End of Watch was filmed on location, in Los Angeles. As a SoCal native, it's cool seeing landmarks or references to streets/cities that you know. All the random Spanglish dialogue was rad too.
The movie isn't perfect. Some of the "gangsters" go a little overboard in their performances, and at times, you might ask yourself: "why on Earth are they recording themselves doing that??? Oh yeah, found footage..." but other than that, I have no real complaints about this film. Gyllenhaal and Pena are dynamite together, along with most of the cast and I think it's safe to say this is Ayer's most powerful and moving film.