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Well handled and Hard hitting
gt-thereelword14 November 2012
It's not hard to tell that David Ayer grew up on the mean streets of South Central, Los Angeles. Training Day, The Fast and the Furious, Dark Blue and S.W.A.T. all showcase his passion for writing screenplays about these streets and the role that police officers play in them. His two films as director (Harsh Times and Street Kings) showed that he could also direct hard hitting dramas depicting the underbelly of the L.A. and the police force. End Of Watch marks Ayer's second film as both writer and director.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as a two young officers in the Los Angeles Police Department. Using the "home footage" format of filmmaking, End Of Watch shows us the ups and downs of these two young officers as they work, love and fight in the streets of Los Angeles.

In terms of subject matter this film doesn't cover anything really different. Its about cops dealing with their issues at home and on the job. This topic has been covered countless times but what makes End Of Watch different – and better – then many of its predecessors is that it holds realism as its number one priority. This is one of the most realistic portrayals of police life ever put to celluloid. The day to day lives of these two best friends are shown in a format that is both convincing and horrifying. It doesn't flinch away when showing the disturbing aspects of this high pressure career.

Using everyday video sources (chest mounted cameras, vehicle cameras, P.O.V angels, aerial shots from police choppers) definitely gives the film an unprecedented level of proximity to cops in the line of duty. Unfortunately, this format doesn't always work. Some chaotic scenes become a little bit confusing when the camera is constantly changing from first person shots to third person angles. But for the most-part it works well.

Gyllenhaal and Peña provide us with two highly believable characters and their chemistry is palpable. Whether they're talking about the women in their lives or having a friendly argument about racial stereotypes, these two actors ensure that we stick with their characters through every step of the way. Gyllenhaal continues to solidify himself as one of the best actors around and Peña delivers one of his best performances to date.

It's got a great script and a focused story that is handled confidently and told well. David Ayer has crafted an intense, hard hitting drama that benefits from the two excellent performances by the two leads.
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Likable, believable characters make this a realistically funny, intense and emotionally gripping cop movie.
nick_white_510 September 2012
When I actually sit down and think about it, there aren't many good movies about your average, every day police officer. There are a couple notable television series', like "Hill Street Blues" and the now dated but oddly fascinating reality series "Cops", but on film, these guys don't get a lot of luck. I guess everyone would rather see movies about undercover officers or detectives. Well for anyone like me who's been waiting for it, here it is. End Of Watch, an excellent take on the genre. It may not be perfect, but it's unique and shows the day to day life more effectively than most if any cop movies I've seen, and as such I think it will one day be essential viewing for fans of the genre.

In the film we meet Brian Taylor, an ex-marine working as a police officer while he works his way through law school. He also just so happens to be taking a class in filmmaking and is filming his experiences to make a documentary for said class, and this is where we get much of our view into the film from. Featured frequently in the film is his partner Mike, often called Z. After stumbling upon a drug-lord at a routine traffic stop, they quickly fall into trouble with the cartel and have to fight their way through it while still trying to figure out where it's all coming from.

The great thing about this mockumentary/found footage style isn't so much the way it's able to present the action of being a cop realistically (which it does but so do normally shot movies), but it better gives us an understanding of what happens inbetween the action. Being a fly on the wall in the various dull, inappropriate, and often times hilarious conversations the two have when patrolling brings the film a much needed dose of comic relief, but the kind that never feels forced. It's all set up naturally. This really gives a chance for stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena to shine as well as they fit so naturally into these characters, often sounding unscripted whether or not they are. They play them as regular guys instead of complex characters which may make them a little less compelling, but all the more fun to watch.

The film also mixes in a variety of other video sources from the dashboard cams of the police cruisers to security cameras. This really benefits the style as a whole. 99% of the time, using the self-shot, found footage for an entire film can come off as gimmicky and unnecessary, but by using a variety of sources the director is able to keep the realistic tone consistent while downplaying the gimmick idea and instead choosing to use Brian's self shot footage and monologues to the camera only when they prove most effective to the story.

Along the way the film is also interspersed with subplots of Brian meeting his new girl Janet, played by Anna Kendrick who makes a memorable impression despite her little screen time, as well as Z and his wife having a baby. While I find it hard to really complain about Anna Kendrick (she's just so damn cute! And she looked stunning on stage introducing the film), these subplots, while important for character development, are thrown in a little too randomly throughout and mess with the overall flow of the film. It's not a huge complaint as I've seen it done worse in other movies, but it could've been solved with some tighter editing. But who knows, this was the premiere I saw, studios still often tweak movies before wide-release.

Fortunately for writer/director David Ayer, this is really the only complaint I have about the film. The entire movie is fairly well written. I did find the dialogue of a lot of the street thugs to be cliché and racially stereotypical, but the things Brian and Z say are priceless throughout and help you deal with a lot of the more serious scenes, and there are quite a few of them. For as entertaining and light-hearted as it is at times, End Of Watch has many dark, brutally violent, and emotionally impacting scenes that are not for the feint of heart. They do ultimately seem necessary though as the film needs action to keep it going, and to create the realistic document of day to day police life it's trying to create, which does get pretty brutal sometimes despite the mostly mundane times in between. The important thing though is that the film is able to balance all of these moments so well.

David Ayer has dedicated what seems to be his whole career to police movies. Most are mediocre to bad (Street Kings), some are genre classics (Training Day), but I think End Of Watch is by far his finest. It easily has the most likable characters, and as such the most emotional involvement for the audience, which thus creates the most tension in the high risk, action scenes. It has the most believable story of any of his movies, or most cop movies for that matter, and lastly it just told in an interesting way. Neither the cop story, found footage action or fly on the wall comedy genres are anything new, but End of Watch takes old ideas and fits them together to make something interesting.

In conclusion, it's tough to go wrong with End Of Watch if you're a fan of the genre. Even if you're not particularly fond of cop movies, I'd still recommend it. It's a highly entertaining, tension filled ride of a movie. It may not be as deep as some other movies coming out now, but it really brings you into another world well. It's well written, well directed, well acted, and was well enjoyed by the whole crowd. Check it out.
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Amazing dichotomy of emotions
mattyp08328 August 2012
Jake and Michael have the most amazing on-screen chemistry that makes the viewers believe they're truly best friends and police partners. The way the script was written allowed David Ayer to elicit an incredible range of emotion from the viewers. It's hilariously funny during car scenes between Jake and Michael, playing on relatable awkward topics of sex, dating, and other things best friends would joke about, yet incredibly serious, showing just how intense and dangerous police officers' jobs in South Central LA can be. The use of Jake's hand-held camera gives a Paranormal Activity feeling (without the headache) that adds to the "realness" of the film. I highly recommend this film and challenge anyone to not be completely moved by the end of it.
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Amazing movie! MUST WATCH
z_arash8 May 2012
If you want to be at the edge of your seat the entire movie you should definitely watch this. I went to a screening a long time ago so the scenes may have changed a bit and maybe made a bit easier on the viewer but the version we saw was absolutely AMAZING movie. The story grips you all along and drags you without giving you a moment to look away from the screen. If you like intense movies like Crash, Stuck or Drive then this is for you.

Everyone applauded after the movie finished at the screening. The story is just so real and so intense that makes your hair stand straight.

The good thing is that from the first second you get into the movie until the very end. Its a story of love and intense action combined that is real not superficial. Its something that could be happening right now in your neighborhood.
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Found footage's finest so far - an intense cop thriller that feels real
Movie_Muse_Reviews26 February 2013
If I were to pitch you a movie about two police officers who are partners on patrol in South Central Los Angeles, one of your first inclinations might be "not another buddy copy comedy." While "End of Watch" is often funny, the newest film from "Training Day" writer David Ayer, is no comedy.

Ayer, who spent a lot of time in South Central, takes the found footage approach to his latest film featuring the LAPD in the spirit of modern trends and perhaps the show "Cops."

It's hard to tell if Ayer's exaggerating, but a lot of dangerous stuff happens to Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Pena) despite being beat cops. So much so that they get involved with the wrong Mexican gang, and their attempts to go above and beyond to protect and serve put them in the line of fire.

Gyllenhaal and Pena have incredible chemistry as two cops who are best friends as well as partners. They epitomize the modern "bromance" in a number of ways, joking around, giving each other a hard time, offering love/dating advice with hyper-masculine sarcasm, etc. Ayer takes time to show these men out of their blues frequently to humanize them in a critical way. On the job, they are often cocky, proud and reckless, pushing the line of appropriate police behavior and protocol. They jump back and forth between making laudable, responsible choices and borderline police brutality.

The portrait that this paints of law enforcement feels so much more authentic than we're normally treated to in cop films and police procedurals on television. They are heroes and good, honorable men, but that doesn't make them beacons of morality. No matter how much you believe in the quickly escalating plot of "End of Watch," there's no disagreement to be had over the authenticity of the characters and the environment they operate in.

Although we do get independent "episodes" in which Taylor and Zavala respond to calls and find more than they bargained for, there's a through-line involving a powerful Mexican drug cartel and the gang that enforces it. Ayer glamorizes these thugs a little bit, but it makes them formidable villains in the story. As things come to a boil, the realism of the film really unravels in favor of a more compelling, heart-pounding finale.

Ayer takes certain liberties with the found footage style as well. The premise involves Taylor filming everything for a school project or something. He has a hand-held camera but also cameras positioned in the squad car, and ones that clip onto their uniforms. The gangs also carry cameras around to film their violent escapades. At times, however, we can't tell who is supposed to be holding the camera — like when Taylor starts making out with his girlfriend, Janet (Anna Kendrick). Neither is holding the camera, so that's a bit strange.

Still, that filmmaking style does more good than harm to the film. Say what you will about the found footage trend, but this is an appropriate example that really works. The extra layer of realism and authenticity that the technique gives to a film really goes miles in favor of "End of Watch."

Humor is an unexpected benefit of this film as well. Michael Pena has failed to be funny in films including "Tower Heist" and "30 Minutes or Less," but he succeeds in territory that blends it with the dramatic in this very organic way. It would be impressive if most of the dialogue in this film, at least between him and Gyllenhaal, weren't improvised given how natural it flows.

It sounds like a stretch to consider this one of the better acted films of the year, but Gyllenhaal and Pena should've been considered for awards contention. The nature of found footage detracts from what we tend to associate with/look for in an Oscar-worthy performance. We expect authenticity from found footage and only comment when it goes poorly, not when it's done exceptionally well. Having seen enough films made in the found footage style, no other two actors have done better in this genre.

"End of Watch" offers an intense look at the life of L.A.'s finest and a harrowing portrait of life in the barrios and gang-ridden parts of L.A. Although exaggerated at crucial points, it shows what can happen when officers try and step out of their clearance level. At the least, it's one of the best films found footage has given us to date.

~Steven C

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Good premise and acting, but ultimately bogged down
TheSeaLion1 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"End of Watch" is a police drama film written and directed by David Ayer, who has worked on a number of police-related movies in the past as either the writer, director, or both, including "S.W.A.T" and "Street Kings". The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as two LAPD officers and focuses on their day-to-day work as police officers and their personal lives.

The film does not seem to know what it is in its method of filming. There are numerous times when the scene is shown through a multitude of different cameras, but then there are scenes where the angle would be impossible for there to be a camera. A scene I will use as an example is when the gang members are in their car. One gang member has a camera and is filming them, which we see the scene unfold through. However, when a character talks to them and the camera shows the gang member holding the video camera, there are no cameras in the car that would have gotten that video. The point I am making is that the film jumps between found-footage and then regular filming at random points in scenes, which gets frustrating.

The dialog in this movie has been praised by many, and while I can understand why so many people thought it was great, I thought at best it was mediocre. A lot of the street talk was cliché and stereotypical, as was the banter between the police officers, not Gyllenhaal and Pena, felt like it came from someone who didn't know how people joked around with one another. This is also one of only three movies, the other two being the 2005 "Assault on Precinct 13" and the recent movie "Sex Tape" where I have to complain about the swearing in the dialog. Now, I have no problem with swearing, but in this movie, I felt like it got worked into every other sentence because it was supposed to make the dialog feel more realistic. Now, to Ayer's credit, there are some scenes with very good use of dialog, especially at the funeral scene and the last scene of the movie. The single line used during the funeral said everything that needed to be said without going overboard, and the last scene of the movie felt like one person telling a funny story.

One thing I will give credit for was the acting in this movie. Gyllenhaal and Pena had very good chemistry and worked off of each other well. Anna Kendrick also did a very good job. I'm actually surprised none of these actors were nominated for Academy Awards for their work in this movie.

Even with the acting, though, the film is still bogged down with problems, deriving heavily from the camera work and dialog. The idea of following around two officers in their day-to-day lives including their police work and personal lives is an interesting idea, and I think it could be pulled off with a better script and less of the found- footage aspect of the camera work.
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Best Cop Movie Ever...
Kerron McNab30 November 2012
This is hands down the best cop movie i have ever seen, nothing depicted here is new, gangs, money, drugs, torture, cops, death, etc...it is the way that its depicted that makes it stand out, the last time that these issues were well shown was in SHIELD. Jake gives his best performance yet, he really does stand out all the way till the end him and his partner play amazing cops. You really feel the intensity and reality of thee life of a cop shown through Jake's recordings, its just amazing how it all feels so real...you will not regret watching this film if you can handle it that is... This movie will keep you glued to the seat till the very end. End of watch was a great watch.
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Raw...Real & Gutsy
james184423 September 2012
This was a real unique journey in drama. A mix of studio camera and innovative character cameras interwoven with the story. Casting brought two very strong actors together and their chemistry was right on target. The plot was simple but the ingredient that put this film over the top was realism and believability. Yes it is very raw and if I got a dollar for every "F-bomb" I could by a home in Malibu for sure. Realism is the main course and this film would not lose it's true identity. I found what really put this movie in the must see category is that ...One minute your laughing and the next you're crying. There are very few films that can achieve this element with this level of quality. This is, without a doubt, one of the very best films of the year.
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Police drama for the Social Media Generation
The script is so well written, it almost hurts. Almost because it is really just good! And I loved the fact, that it got recognized in America too (at the Box office, it did open at Number 1). While I won't go into the story, the casting of Jake and his partner couldn't have been better. It feels like the guys know each other their whole life. Their interactions with social media and "real" life feel ... well real. Nothing in this movie feels like it is staged for entertainment purposes nor does the dialogue sound fake.

I did write drama, but there is also quite a bit of action in this one. The hand-held approach to some of the scenes does not take anything away from them, it actually heightens the experience most of the time. Of course as an Anna Kendrick fan, I would've loved to see more of her in the movie, but it does belong to our two "heroes" and what they are going through. It's nice to see a movie that keeps in touch with current events, have the courage and the quality to bring that "cop" experience on screen
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Not your run of the mill LAPD movies
thaigold28 November 2012
Unlike many of the current crop of macho cop dramas, End of Watch plays mainly to the grit of the daily challenges of patrolling the mean streets of South Central LA in the "Shootin' Newton" division. Unlike the stunning LA Confidential, with a historical story line, End of Watch is done in the cinema ver'ite' style - in a realistic real cops on duty in the LA war zone frame. The casting in this movie is picture perfect, with each actor giving in depth performances.The story line brings the Mexican / US drug problem into crystal clarity. Initially, the story fails to coalesce, and the video cam work is a bit disjointed and over done at the outset, but once you settle in to cinematic method, the film gets a hold on you. Definitely a movie for any law enforcement aficionados collection.
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Excellent Film, Awful Camera Work
Claudio Carvalho20 March 2016
The efficient LAPD Police Officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) are partners and best friends. Mike is married with Gabby (Natalie Martinez), who is pregnant, and Brian is having a serious love affair with Janet (Anna Kendrick). Brian has the intention of making a movie and is using a handy cam to film his daily work with his partner, under the protest of his colleague Van Hauser (David Harbour). After killing a powerful gangster in self-defense, they are transferred by Sarge (Frank Grillo) to South Central Los Angeles where there is a war between black and Mexican gangs. When Mike and Brian arrest a gangster and find a great load of drugs and people involved in human-trafficking, they are sentenced to death by the Cartel and hunted down by a Mexican gang. What will happen to them?

"End of Watch" is an excellent film, showing the story of two charismatic police officers patrolling the streets of South Central Los Angeles in their daily work and personal lives, since they are best friends. Despite the great storyline, the execution uses the annoying "found footage" cheap style, maybe with the intention of giving the idea of documentary using an awful camera work. The film is realistic and the conclusion is heartbreaking. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Marcados para Morrer" ("Marked to Die")
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gritty and pointless
toddg-473-28981825 August 2013
I had high expectations for this movie, and was severely let down. The letdown came from a number of small things rather than one big one. While I accepted the story line of tough inner city cops working tough neighborhoods, I found the use of hand-held cameras to show uncommon angles to be an unnecessary distraction. So was the constant referencing of Anna Kendrick's cleavage in almost every shot she was in.

But the biggest letdown in this movie was the generic nature of the battle between law enforcement and the human traffickers they fought against. The coyote types were one dimensional characters only - cold and angry all the time. We never really are told why they hate the police so much, other than that the police are obstacles to their business. But the human element was missing.

The other letdown was the portrayal of the disconnect between the LAPD, a local agency, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a federal agency. We aren't given enough content about their lack of information sharing, and the plot too easily glosses over ICE's not sharing potentially life saving information with the LAPD.

The one bright spot in the movie was the acting by Jake Gyllenhaal. He was very convincing as a hard charging, bend-the-rules street cop. But this movie could have been so much more, end evoked more empathy from its audience, had the script been better refined.
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One of My Favourite Movies, End of Watch Features Two Fun and Believable Lead Performances, Great Laughs, and Intense Action
CANpatbuck366414 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I was really excited to see this in theatres, I thought the trailer looked good but I have to admit what really sold it to me was that it was from the writer from Training Day. I'm not big into found-footage movies, there's been so many of them, the gimmick doesn't feel fresh anymore. Even though it wasn't playing anywhere near me, I made the trip with my best friend and we both walked out of the movie with our jaws hitting the floor. It's easily the best found footage movie that I've ever seen and it's also easily the best work of it's writer/director David Ayer.

*Minor Spoilers Ahead* The movie begins with a police chase being recorded from a dashboard camera. Officer Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) is delivering a monologue about how he's required to take these criminals down. It doesn't matter if he agrees with the law, it's his job to put these guys in a cage. He's chasing these guys with his partner officer Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) and after he's finally run them off the road, there's a shootout. They are able to put these guys down and the tape ends with them waiting for backup.

We then join them again at the precinct, in the locker room. Brian introduces himself as an officer of the LAPD. He shows them his locker, the equipment he's carrying on a daily basis and even briefly introduces his partner Mike and another officer Van Hauser (David Harbour). Van Hauser isn't too keen on Taylor taping everything and tells him he's going to report him. Taylor and Zavala laugh it off and head out. Next we see them with the other officers in their division. Their Sargent (Frank Grillo) is assigning them to certain districts in their city and their superior Captain Reese shows up. Reese tells the rest of the unit that Taylor and Zavala were cleared in the shooting of the previous police chase. He doles out the assignments and they head out to try and make a difference.

I stated in the opening that found-footage is a gimmick, it's no longer new and exciting and frankly I'm getting tired of it. I bring that up again because for a found-footage movie, End of Watch is really well shot. There are some scenes where there are very cool camera angles, the action scenes are coherent (something that found-footage movies just can't seem to get) and exciting. People have complained that there are bits where its not completely clear who's holding the camera and I won't disagree. But I think the fact that the movie is so well filmed helps you gloss over that and I've never had a problem when watching it.

End of Watch has a plot arc but most of the movie feels like what its pretending to be, a sampling of a few days in the lives of these guys. Again, I found this to be more effective than your standard plot line. The stuff these guys have to deal with is crazy and while I'm sure most of the cops in L.A. don't have to deal with all of this on a daily basis, I could see a lot of this going down. It keeps the movie moving at a quick pace and you don't know what's going to happen next.

In my opinion what makes this movie special is the interplay between the characters. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are great together and by themselves. You completely buy them as best friends and people who would be hanging out together day in and day out. They're actually really funny in the scenes that they are just driving around and considering how dark this movie gets, its some much needed levity. A lot of the supporting characters do a good job too. Natalie Martinez, Anna Kendrick, David Harbour, America Ferrera and Frank Grillo are all fun to watch in their respective roles. Some people complain about the gang villains and I would agree that their acting isn't terribly strong. I don't have a problem with that though, the movie is about Taylor and Zavala's friendship, not about them taking on the cartel.

I've watched this movie more than a few times and I love it each time I watch it. The movie moves quickly, there's a lot of great acting, a believable feel to it and it gives you main characters that you want to root for. I'm so glad I took the time to search it out when it was in theatres and although it didn't get the awards attention that they probably wanted, it does have quite the following. It's easily one of my favourite movies (definitely one of the best in the past few years). It shows the talent that David Ayer has and even though not every movie he's made has been excellent (Sabotage was disappointing), he's very good at what he does and I hope he gets more good projects going forward.
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Police Point of View
Mek Torres5 October 2012
End of Watch seems to be another film that uses the found-footage style, but once again it's not a successful try. However, it still gets what it wants by being a true to life buddy cop film with a ridiculous amount of intensity. End of Watch looks pretty simple as a crime thriller, but everything is actually brilliant. The crimes are grim and the action is a load of thrills. But what really makes this film so appealing is the chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. Their bromantic moments keeps the entire film so charming. The rest of End of Watch is engaging and interestingly gripping.

The story is about the lives of the lead pair. As these police officers patrol around the streets, they spend their time talking and joking around until they see something going on. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña brings it to life. Their chemistry is the magic of this film. When it gets serious it becomes really intense, makes you wish both of them are safe on their dangerous jobs. The common elements of cop movies are explosions and stylish gunfights, but this film is all about tension and momentum.

The found-footage style is as messy as what the recent found-footage film, Chronicle, did. Which falls into being unnecessary. It sometimes gets shots that aren't filmed on any hand-held cameras. The camera-work is still well shot and serves a different experience, but it could have been something like what action directors, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor(strangely has the same name of the main character), do. Shaking the camera ridiculously without calling it a found-footage film. If you ignore the style, it would be cool. The quality of the film is being realistic and there it succeeds. They left the impossibly cool police movie stuff behind and instead make them simply scrutinize, arrest, and watch the streets.

End of Watch doesn't have much of a concept but to depict the credible lives of these hero cops. While the lead stars shine on their beautiful down-to-earth bromance, there's a grim reality about to affect their lives thus makes this an indeed so compelling film. Still, it could have been a Crank like film than a found-footage. The crazy cam is a great effect, but not the characters holding the camera. Aside from that, it's a top notch thriller that is easy enough to enjoy. Worth a ride and recommended.
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Not for the remotely intelligent...
Ray12 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This may contain spoilers if you consider description of a few scenes from the movie as such, so continue reading at your peril...

I must say I am lucky that I didn't have to pay to see this movie. For starters I hate shaky camera work as it induces headaches and adds nothing to make the movie more watchable or more authentic/credible, and cops making a documentary with a camera while on duty, come on lets get real here!!. It is laughable to see a cop with a camera in his one hand and his gun in the other going after hardened criminals with sub-machine guns, who coincidently hate cops to their guts. What's even more laughable is when a woman cop is in stress and calls for help through the police radio, and our heroes get in there the first thing they see is a male officer sitting on the sidewalk with a knife fully embedded into his right eye (and certainly all the way to his brain), giving directions to them as nothing really serious happened to him, and his remarks about his own situation while he is transported to the ambulance is something to be heard to be believed (talk about bad acting). Then there is the scene were our two sidekicks were showered by machine gun bullets by not one but - get this - 4 different criminals without taking a serious hit. Then the gangsters almost having a party after they kill (or think that they did) our heroes, taking it slowly with their SMG on their shoulders moving around like cowboys with no hurry to leave the crime scene and then get shot by incoming police officers like flies without even being able to return a shot.....

Shot in documentary style... says IMDb.. I love documentaries for their true to life aspect, but this movie ain't one of them. In fact I really don't know what this movie is about, IMO it is just a waste of your hard earned money, unless of course hearing F**K before and after every other word is your kind of entertainment... for me it simply is two pollux + two hallux down.
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Surprisingly Bad
Randy Peterson15 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I intend to write reviews of movies where my opinion goes against the majority opinion. Unfortunately I usually see movies either in 2nd run theaters or on TV, which is okay if the movies are over a year old or classic films, but is generally too late to matter when it is new movies. But I'm putting my two cents in on this film.

This flick received generally good reviews from both the public, and critics. I'm not sure I was watching the same movie as everyone else. First, the hand-held camera gambit was annoying. I know that the thought was for it to add an artistic element, but it was just plain perturbing. It reminded me of my father taking home movies back in the day. A lot of the "action" scenes were just fast-moving, indiscernible images, as though the camera were being flipped and spun around like a football. If not for the audio I would not have had a clue as to what was going on. Also, everything was too dark, meaning that there was a need for more daylight scenes. And it looked like scenes were spliced together ad hoc. Maybe that was part of the alleged "artistry" attempt in the movie.

Some of the scenes of the evil Mexican gang were almost funny in their absurdity. There was one scene where the Mexican outlaws were riding in a van and shouting angry, obscenity-laced threats at each other in a thick Hispanic accent. I leaned over and asked my co-viewer sitting next to me what they were yelling about and she shrugged her shoulders and then whispered to me that she thought they were debating the scientific possibilities of inter-galactic travel. It was the high point of the movie.

I'm not sure how anyone could care about the two main characters. Any attempt they made to show some personal depth and heartfelt emotion came off as either false, or aggravatingly macho. Just not good. When everyone, good guys and bad guys alike, were apparently killed in one scene near the end, I felt a relief that the bewildering and/or poorly drawn characters were gone and I would soon be in my car going home.

I have seen a lot of movies in my day and this one may not be the worst, but it is probably in the bottom 20%.
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Realistic but not much point
Floated214 July 2013
End of Watch is a cop drama dealing with more of the perspective side of cops and view their daily routine as to what they do. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. While you've got your disbelief suspended, you'll want to also note of the film's found footage gimmick and shaky cam, which asks us to buy that snappily-edited multi-camera scenes are. It's hard to see why director David Ayer – who wrote the similarly lurid but far superior Training Day – bothered with this presentational quirk, since it has no bearing on the plot and is pursued too half-heartedly to be remotely convincing. Presumably it's just designed to fire the adrenal glands of kids hopped up on the phoney spontaneity of scripted reality shows and army recruitment videos.

Anyway, Brian and his partner, Mike (Michael Peña), ride around busting, having unimpeachable blue-collar integrity and endeavouring to clear the scum off the South Central mean streets.

After a rewatch of the film, I must counter with the film is better the second time around. We are witnessed to more and I have noticed small clues that I have not noticed on the first viewing. What makes the film a success is the gritty realistic violence as well as the chemistry between the two leads. We can see why this film has become cult status and is well liked.
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Pathetic at best
mofodojo201022 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was one of the most mangled pieces of garbage I think I have ever seen. I actually almost wish that I was speaking in hyperbole. I was so insanely bored by "found footage" of some loser cop's college class project that I would rather have watched a documentary on the history of drinking straws. The movie is basically about two cops that do nothing but goof around, break protocol, and act like the low-lifes that they are trying to uproot. Not only is half of the movie unrealistic, such as ignoring a government agent's orders to leave the gang that they are dealing with alone, buts it is saturated with stereotypes that are hyperbolas themselves. The "gangsters" in this film talk like they are actors in a porno. Almost every line of dialogue that they utter is laced with f-bombs. Don't get me wrong cussing happens a lot in many people's lives and occupations, but to the point where literally every other word is f**k is annoying. There is a particular seen where some of the gang-bangers are talking about killing the cops and it sounds somewhat like this, "Dude, F, we are f-ing gonna f these f-ers up f-ing forever f-ing even f-ing if we have to f-ing f those f-ers 'til they're f-ed so much that f-ing their f-ing mom will be f-ing skull f-ing them to f-ing bring their f-ing f's back to f-ing life. F bro. I'm f-ing serious. F. F. F I F-ing love you." And this kind of dialogue happens at least three times for what seems like 10 minutes each scene. The fact that the gangsters are filming themselves is one of the dumbest things because most of the recordings are of them talking about committing crimes and killing the cops. I'd love to see the court case after the fact where 300 hours of incriminating footage had been recovered as evidence to put these idiots down. That might almost make a better movie than this one. Then there is the other stuff that all the other bad reviews have mentioned. The acting is terrible. And no I do not believe that Gyllenhal and Pena saved this movie. It is the worst film that either of them has been in. Also many of the reviewers are right; these cops would have died horrible deaths with as many bullets that were supposedly being shot at them. The fact that cops would be portrayed like this, even though I hate cops, it is disrespectful to all who serve for the police forces in America. I can't even think of any redeeming qualities for this film. If I could I would give it a zero. The only part of the film where I may have smiled in joy is when one of these loser cops kicks the bucket but then they ruin the movie again by letting his partner live and sob into his chest. I'm actually surprised he didn't kiss him goodbye. My movie theatre has a "no refund policy" and therefore I sat and kept praying the movie would somehow get better or at least just end. It is really sad that stuff like this can get released in theatres, get good reviews, and steal my money all in one day. I've practically stopped seeing movies for the first two weeks because that's how long you usually have to wait for the honest reviews to emerge.
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End of Watch Movie Review
Dave Lucas5 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers

End of Watch -

Writer/director David Ayer was only really familiar to me before I saw this film for writing the script to Training Day. That, and positive buzz from the festival circuit, gave me some measure of hope that I was really going to enjoy End of Watch but it just didn't quite do it for me. Unfortunately, both of the big problems land squarely in Mr. Ayer's lap.

Can fake found footage film making be finally finished? I, for one, have had it. It was revolutionary in The Blaire Witch project. Today...blase, blase, blase. This movie actually takes it to a whole new level, where the cops are making videos while on the beat and the crooks are making videos as they commit the crimes. If they'd put down their own cameras for a second they could probably watch their opponents' every move on YouTube. This gimmick (I won't even call it a directorial flourish) plays about as ludicrously as I've made it sound. Again, I ask: Since the found footage snake is obviously eating its own tale, can we just stand back and let it finish its meal? Thank you.

So, besides coming off like Cops meets Lethal Weapon live tweeted, the other problem is with the script. End of Watch is SUCH a stereotypical buddy cop movie. I spent almost the entire run time going, "Oh, that's just like in _________, only shot on much lower quality film". The screenplay's only saving grace lies in the dialogue between the two main characters as they ride around in their squad car. Fragments of that are actually quite witty.

Which leads to the real bright point of the film: Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena's performances. They have great on screen chemistry, and their interaction is THE reason to check out this picture (once). This should be a real breakout role for Pena, who actually manages to upstage his far more famous co-star. Together they are able to overcome the predictability of the movie and make it enjoyable for scant moments...but only moments...3 of 5 stars.

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Award-Worthy Stuff - One of the Best of Its Kind
Simon_Says_Movies23 September 2012
From conflicts of duty and heart like Brooklyn's Finest to police morality tales such as the now-infamous Training Day over to classics like Serpico, no film to chronicle the day-to-day lives and misadventures of our men and women in blue has come off quite as authentic as End of Watch. Writer-director David Ayer (who is no stranger to the genre with titles Street Kings, S.W.A.T. and the aforementioned Denzel Washington thriller to his name) has honed in on everything that made his previous efforts a success while stripping away most of those elements that have now become cliché.

That is not to say that End of Watch shatters new ground, or that the stripped-down procedural format hasn't been done in equally effective fashion (often more potently) in television series such as Southland and The Wire, but it would be grossly unfair to not give glowing credit where it is due. Thanks to the grippingly genuine performances from leads Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, End of Watch is one of the best films of the year and absolutely one of the best of its kind across all possible subgenres. Dirty cop, undercover, gangster – you name it.

At an aesthetic level, the use of up-close-and-personal shaky cam easily distinguishes Ayer's tale from other beat-cop chronicles (while somewhat inviting comparisons to the aforementioned Southland at the same time). It makes End of Watch feel much closer to the reality show Cops then to the likes of Narc or Cop Land. Likely not to make people as nauseated as other "found footage" fare, End of Watch only calls into attention its gimmick when addressing the fact that the cameras are there, e.g. "turn that camera off, I'm doing this for a film class," etc. Simply employing the close-up feel and nothing more would have done End of Watch a number of favors.

Bolstering the (positive) elements of that filmmaking choice even further is the grippingly faithful dialogue, which while not shying away from the code-laden jargon that accompanies the job, also provides impeccably easy-going (and often hilarious) exchanges that would make the likes of Aaron Sorkin or Quentin Tarantino proud. It is in this screen writing sense where Ayer has triumphed over his previous outings. Gyllenhaal and Pena aid in bringing the script to life and have such an easy-going rapport it is impossible not to be caught up with these two brothers in arms. Truthfully, it's all awards-worthy stuff.

The plot is pretty cut and dry, but for End of Watch it stands as one of the film's greatest strengths. Spanning the course of about a year, officers Taylor and Zavala respond to domestic disputes, house fires and suspicious individuals. As they say, not everything is car chases and gunfights. Although they often think of themselves as cowboys (and South Central L.A. could be mistaken for the Wild West on more than one occasion), End of Watch isn't afraid to explore the family lives of these characters, the down times, and the casual, anecdotal exchanges that go along with the shoot-'em-up side of law.

With his shaved head and confident swagger, Gyllenhaal slips effortlessly into his role as the young hotshot, rising to the occasion of the demanding off-handed dialogue, and without a doubt provides one of the best and most authentic performances of his already noteworthy career. Shattering all preconceived notions at what he was capable of, Pena is essentially a revelation, proving tough, funny and caring in equal measure, often at the same time. He seems to glean more charisma off of Gyllenhaal than other thesps with whom he's shared the screen. Supporting characters Anna Kendrick (as the love interest of Taylor), Natalie Martinez (charming and feisty as Zavala's wife) and all of the despicable street thugs who share the screen with our protagonists are also stellar, making for nothing close to a weak link.

Gripping, tragic and utterly unafraid to go to gruesome places, End of Watch is a hugely pleasant surprise for a genre which has become all about the duality of crooked cops and surprise twist reveals that pluck an undercover cop out of thin air at the most opportune moment. There is something refreshing about having a film examine a clear-cut line of good and evil all while maintaining the ability to keep your sweaty hand firmly clasping the other.


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A riveting, two hour 'ride-along' with the the LAPD.
bmennen22 September 2012
Gritty, real and lots of action. The director/writer, Ayer, grew up on the streets of El Lay and it shows. Jake Gyllenhal and Michael Pena are just electric as partners in a black and white, and the performance by Cle Shaheed Sloan as the street hood with a sense of honor named Tre is awesome. The dialog is so good, that half the time you think this is an episode of Cops without any bleeps.

Ayer uses various camera techniques brilliantly to tell the story. I usually do not like a lot of hand-held (it sometimes makes me dizzy), but he uses it very well here and I suffered no side effects.

I look forward to Ayer's next movie: just see this one and you will too.
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Gyllenhaal and Pena sell this thing. Everything else falls apart.
Mr-Fusion6 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers

Let's start with the good:

1. The rapport between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. Their banter scenes in the car were my favorite in the film. And Pena actually managed to steal the show from his costar. I liked him a lot.

2. There's some genuinely gripping material here with the opening car chase, the home entries, and the shootouts. Kudos to Ayer for making amateur home movie footage riveting.

What bothers me about "End of Watch" is that it's a movie written around the novelty of found footage. So much effort was put into capturing the warzone streets (from every conceivable angle) that Ayer forgot to throw in a decent story. It's sold as a realistic tale of the brotherhood of two LAPD officers (brothers in arms), but it's not really about that. This movie is ultimately about two cowboy cops who run afoul of some evil drug lords, and they get shot up as a result. Roll credits. I have no idea what Ayer was trying to say with this movie because the sleight-of-hand he pulls at the end leaves me with a completely empty feeling. If he'd at least killed both men (not the one who didn't deserve it), we could acknowledge the nihilistic bent. But we're supposed to feel something for Gyllenhaal's unlikable character because he messed up. How was this at all about brotherhood?

This would've been better if it was just about the cops' lives on the streets (and their struggle to maintain humanity at shift's end). Just leave out the Mexican cartel and their ridiculously cartoonish assassins. The narration Gyllenhaal gives during the opening car chase promises a far more interesting cop movie than what's presented here. And it's crushingly disappointing that Ayer didn't follow through on that.

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this Movie is getting good reviews?
MF greg12 November 2012
Yes, This whole movie was filmed in a Blair Witch Fashion. You know what I'm talking about. The Shaky Cam, you see what we see poop Hollywood has been dumping on us for years. I do admit I'm not a fan of this style but I always try to give a movie a fair chance especial with a awesome cast like this. Sadly I regret giving this movie a chance. It was just awful. The story line was insanely predictable. From the very beginning I had this feeling like I've already seen this movie before. The main Actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña did a really good job with what they had to work with but the rest of the cast dropped the ball so hard that there was no way the main actors could carry them. Just listen to the bad guys dialog. Every other word is an F-bomb. They were trying so hard to look bad ass (especially the female actor) but it was in no way convincing. In fact it was very much laughable. If you don't mind bad acting, shaky cams and horrible story-lines then give this movie ago. If you hate wasting your time watching crap gift wrapped in good reviews (I really don't understand how.) then this movie is for you.
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Sloppy Directing - Breaks the Rules of "Found Footage" Movies
Darryl Brian22 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
End of Watch was OK. Entertaining enough but I would say just wait for DVD/blu ray. It's supposed to be one of those Blair witch or cloverfield type movies where as the viewer you are supposed to be watching "found footage." In the beginning, the movie establishes that Jake Gyllenhaull has a hand-held camcorder while also having, along with his partner, a minicam pinned to their uniforms. My main gripe, however, is that there are camera shots interspersed throughout the film that are not from any camera point of view. This breaks the rule of "found footage" movies. For instance, Jake is recording his partner kick open a locked door from the front of an empty house. All of a sudden though we cut to a shot from inside the house just to see his partner bust open the door and them coming through with guns drawn. Yet, no one is in the house so who's camera are we looking through? Then we are suddenly back looking through Jake's camcorder. It just didn't make sense and it happens a little too often. It's like the director wanted to include certain shots but couldn't think of how to include them so he just threw them in there and just hoped no one noticed. #SloppyDirecting

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Worst movie I've seen in decades
patrick-488-80308428 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I signed up for an IMDb account just so I could review this movie. I've never seen a David Ayers flick before. This was essentially a snuff flick. The higher plot (if there was one) was that life sucks and the bad guys win. There was no elevation of the spirit...no higher meaning of the story. You spend the movie getting to know the characters and they simply kill one. The dealers and cartels win, no side-plots discussed, nothing...it just ends. They apologetically revisit an earlier 4 minute buddy flick contextual discussion as an afterthought...kind of a tart apology for such foul fare.

In short I trust movie makers to bring me something, I was manipulated and brought low by this film...to no end...I am quite angry. Never an Ayers flick again
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