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?
Denis Villeneuve is at the helm and Emily Blunt at the fore of a brutal narco-war thriller
A not-so-Swinging Sixties in Joan Littlewood’s comedic yet fiercely political critique of so-called progress
As Suffragette opens the London Film Festival, its director reflects on a group of women ahead of their time
Outstanding documentary on ice hockey and politics charts changing mood of Russia
Alecky Blythe's documentary stage musical looks at home on the small screen
theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now
The Scottish play starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard marries spectacle to mumblecore
Pacino triumphs, despite questionable attempts to channel Neil Diamond
Challenging French film about engagement, or lack of it, in unsettling ocean environment
Matt Damon gives a masterclass in survival in Ridley Scott's space adventure
The late Soviet and Russian master Alexei German finds diamonds in the muck
Diverse films gave a glimpse beyond the tourist veneer of Brazil's cultural capital