End of Watch


Two Partners That Don’t Quit

End of Watch (2012) is a cop movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  An action-packed thriller that makes you think your days in a patrol car were pretty tame.  It comes with a softer side too.  A very good insight to cop’s homelives with quick and concise vignettes. 

The movie is a somewhat rare portrayal of your “average” cop as the larger-than-life heroes.  Too often films focus on the guys from SWAT or hardened detectives with years of tough cases under their belts.  This is just two guys from different walks of life working together and getting their legs under them as cops.  They aren’t rookies and aren’t yet veterans.  Still learning but they know how to handle themselves. 

The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Brian Taylor) and Michael Pena (Mike Zavala) as the partner protagonists.  The duo are radio car partners in LA during a wild four months in 2011 (cleverly timed out using the time and date stamp on dashcam video).  The pair, somewhat accidentally, stumble into a major narcotics and human trafficking ring.  Quickly doing some follow up, they cause some significant problems for the Mexican cartel and are “green lit”, or marked for assassination.  The story follows their crazy few months on patrol.  The police action is interspersed with looks at their home lives, the stress of their current predicament and policing in general weighing on their families.

It is not all stress and violence, however. Director and writer David Ayer (Training Day, The Fast and Furious) captures the feel of the radio car.  Sarcastic comments and genuinely funny dark humor pepper the dialogue.  Gyllenhaal and Pena are both excellent and prove to have a remarkable chemistry.  The pair did months of ride alongs with the LAPD to prepare for the film.  It shows in every minute you are in the car with them.  You will feel right at home if you ever shared a tour with a partner.  

The film is shot in a documentary style and many of the action scenes recall episodes of the (woke cancelled) show “Cops”.  Ayer uses Gyllenhaal/Taylor’s home video camera, the dashcam, bodycams, and other video feeds to give an interesting perspective. The cinematography provides a realism that hits home. 

We couldn’t find this movie streaming for free anywhere.  It can be rented from the usual suspects: AppleTV, AmazonPrime, Google Play, Youtube, etc for $4.  You won’t be disappointed. 

Christopher Flanagan


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