LFF 2012: End of Watch | Film reviews, news & interviews
LFF 2012: End of Watch
David Ayer directs Jake Gyllenhaal in a freewheeling cop thriller
Often portrayed as corrupt or, at best, on the front line of a war zone, the officers of the LAPD are regulars on the big and small screen. On TV, Southland and The Shield have examined the LAPD in microscopic detail and earlier this year Rampart intermittently impressed with its focus on one cop in freefall. With police procedural End of Watch writer-director David Ayer is on home turf: he’s the man behind several LA-set police thrillers, including Training Day (for which he penned the screenplay).
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña play patrol officers Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala. Despite objections, Taylor has been filming himself and Zavala at work and there’s a sense from the off that he’s documenting their downfall; the film opens with a shoot-out and, while filming, they’re warned by a colleague (played by America Ferrera – TV’s Ugly Betty) that “they can subpoena that shit if things go wrong.” End of Watch follows the men as they uncover the deeply disturbing activities of a Mexican cartel but, like some of the best police drama, this is as much about the partners’ brotherly bond as it is about what goes down on the street. These two men would follow each other into a fire (at one point this quite literally happens).
Put together to seem at least partially self-shot, there’s plenty of visceral, high-stakes excitement and occasionally Ayer throws in footage shot by criminal gangs, or external police surveillance, creating tension by putting us one step ahead of our heroes. Rivetingly paced and impressively performed, End of Watch doesn’t say anything new but it says what it does with swagger and heart.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
Dziga Vertov's dazzling 1929 opus captures a day in the life of an idealized Soviet city
Long overdue tribute to a forgotten British film-maker
theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now
Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts confront mid-life anxieties in Noah Baumbach's wry comedy
Jake Gyllenhaal is the human punchbag seeking redemption in Antoine Fuqua's boxing drama
Robert Carlyle's debut as director is confident, and darkly comic
'I'll be back': Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in an unusually low-key zombie movie
Drab lead dominates overlong chronicle of a DJ in the Nineties French dance music scene
Portrait of a contemporary New York marriage needs some fixing-up
Gore Vidal and William F Buckley, Jr change the terms of TV debate in 1968
Michael Winterbottom-directed farrago centring on the Meredith Kercher case
Wim Wenders chronicles the life of a photographer who has visited the heart of darkness