Movie Review: End Of Watch
A refreshing and brilliant spin is put on the found-footage flick with End of Watch, the latest film from writer-director David Ayer. Unlike anything you have seen before, the film will hit you with full-force and leave you feeling completely drained by the time the end credits roll.
End of Watch focuses on Officers Zavala (Michael Pena) and Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) as they uncover a shocking secret that makes them the prime targets of a local ruthless drug cartel.
End of Watch wastes no time and begins with an overwhelming Need For Speed-style car-chase that throws the audience into the front seat and in the position of a police officer in hot pursuit. Right from the onset, the film grips like a vice and refuses to let go. Whether it be the hard-hitting action sequences or the moments of poignancy, End of Watch is thrilling and engaging for its entire 109 minutes.
It is considerably rare to see a film that can successfully mix action and romance, without leaning too far to the either side. Thankfully, End of Watch thrives on its ability to blend its moments of sentiment with the scenes of action, making it appeal to a vast audience. It may look like a film that will only please action fans, but this could not be further from the truth. End of Watch covers universal themes that everyone can enjoy and relate to.
End of Watch explores love, loyalty, death and family in an equal manner. However, the themes are not split into chunks and divided over the run-time; instead they are intertwined and overlap each other. The strongest sections of the film are the ones that have you on the edge of your seat with a smile on your face. This is thanks to the incredible performances by Pena and Gyllenhaal. The fantastic chemistry between Zavala and Taylor makes for such an unforgettable and incredible viewing experience. Neither actor dominates the screen; the two bounce off each other and in turn, create a friendship that is both wholly credible and undeniably absorbing.
Underneath the hard-hitting and explosive action there is a film that hits hard for much different reasons. The bare bones of End of Watch sees it as a buddy movie; a touching tale about two best friends who have a job that pushes their friendship to the limit. The stand-out moments exploit the wonderfully witty and truly sincere script that has been perfectly written and is delivered equally as well by the two leads. The audience gets to know and love the two policemen and the whole film builds up superbly to the heart-stopping and downright devastating ending.
The longer it is on the screen, the better it gets and the closer it creeps to its end the more you will wish it didn’t have to. For a film this tiring to watch, to not become tiresome is a sign of brilliant direction. David Ayer has a worthy contender for one of the top films of 2012 here, and that really is a fantastic surprise considering End Of Watch probably didn’t make many people’s lists of most anticipated films of this year.
Ayer has created something refreshing and much-needed for the near-exhausted found-footage/hand-held camera sub-genre of filmmaking. As it doesn’t totally devote itself to the found-footage idea, End of Watch does not succumb to the clichés and stereotypes often seen within these films. It chops and changes; keeping the audience guessing and doesn’t spiral into complete predictability.
Not only is End of Watch a complete adrenaline rush from start to finish, it has a massive heart to go with it. Beneath the hard and exciting exterior, there lies a wonderful story that is sprinkled with a perfect helping of comedy and romance.
PPSF Rating: 8/10
End of Watch is released in the UK on the 23rd of November.
Here’s the official trailer to get you on the edge of your seat in the meantime.