Thinking of a night on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a DVD? Caitlin Lupton reckons you should spend your evening with Jake Gyllenhaal in End of Watch. She promises you a raucous ride-along through South Central L.A right on the dashboard of the action, with Gyllenhaal’s head even shinier than his badge.
“The thin-blue-line, protecting the prey from the predators, the good from the bad. We are the police“.
This opening voice over fills the viewer with fear that they’re watching yet another testosterone-fuelled 83 minutes of two “hero cops”, diving through the air with four guns each shooting bad guys glamorising police brutality in the name of making a kick-ass action movie. David Ayer’s End of Watch proves to be something different taking some refreshing twists and turns through back-alley cartel country to keep us hooked (or cuffed) to this tale of loveable law enforcers.
Blinding performances from the leading men and a gripping script, filled with enough swearing to make Tarantino blush, invests us completely in this banter-full, multi-racial bromance. From the privacy of their squad car, we see the touching relationship of two men (Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) and that are prepared to die for each other.
Just when you think you can just sit back and enjoy the ride, with Peña’s hilarious American-life impression (such as the great riff on flavoured coffee and Starbucks) and Gyllenhaal’s razor sharp cutting shapes on the dance floor, the film startles you by running guns and fists blazing straight into the dark and often gruesome harrowing reality of the Mexican/Black gang street wars.
The attempt at using hand-held camera is a little half-hearted but is luckily side lined in favour of a better view of the action.
This film slashes at the heart strings, tickles the funny bone and attacks the eyes -literally – in all the right places.
End of Watch is out on DVD, Blu-ray and Limited Edition Double Play Steelbook.