¨If you run away I will chase you. If you fight me I will fight back. If you shoot at me I will shoot back. By law I am unable to walk away. Behind my badge is a heart like yours. I bleed, I think, I love, and yes I can be killed.¨
Before End of Watch filmgoers probably knew David Ayer for having written the beautiful screenplay for Training Day (memorable for Denzel Washington`s performance), but now he will be remembered for his direction in this excellent cop thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. I was completely hooked with this film from the very beginning with the opening scene up to the very last shot. David Ayer had directed some other thrillers in the past (Harsh Times and Street Kings), but none as gripping as this one. End of Watch pays homage to police officers around the world. Many people have complained that this is cop propaganda, but I believe it really is a tribute to the honest and hard working officers in the police department. Many films, including Ayer`s Training Day, have depicted police officers as corrupt, but End of Watch pays a special tribute to those officers who have put their lives on the line. These cops deserved a film like this, and in my opinion it is one of the best police thrillers I`ve seen in a long time. The screenplay was also written by David Ayer, and the movie was filmed in a documentary style as we had the main characters filming ¨home footage¨ while on duty. This may displease some viewers due to the camera movements and such, but I thought it worked well here and gave it a more realistic vibe. David Ayer knows his material and really came up with a believable script. He was helped by the excellent performance from the entire cast as well.
Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) are partners working for the LAPD in the dangerous streets ruled by gangs and drug cartels. They are also best friends and spend all day talking about their families and such in between chases and gun shootings while they patrol the streets. Mike is married to Gabby (Natalie Martinez) who is expecting their first child, while Brian has begun dating a very intelligent girl named Janet (Anna Kendrick) with whom he`s falling for. As the two men discuss their daily lives and play jokes on other officers they also get the job done. They are so good at what they do that a dangerous drug cartel marks them for death after they confiscated some of their money and firearms. Brian and Mike continue with their lives as usual while saving children from a burning house and fighting criminals in the street without feeling like heroes. Frank Grillo plays the Sarge, and America Ferrera and David Harbour two other officers in the department.
The chemistry between Michael Peña and Jake Gyllenhaal in this film is what really makes this film stand out from the rest. We´ve seen many similar films dealing with these issues, but none feel as real as this movie did. Thanks to the performance from the cast and the well written screenplay the movie feels authentic. Peña and Gyllenhaal could even receive nominations for their performance. That is how good they are here. Anna Kendrick is such a talented actress, I don’t think she gets the recognition she deserves. She is great here in her supporting role and is always a delight to watch on screen. The performance from each of the members of the gang was also incredible, this is as real and authentic as they`ve ever been depicted. The film combines great action scenes with a lot of laughs and dramatic moments; it is a very emotional ride and director David Ayer does a great job at managing this. I will be on the lookout for his next film because I was really impressed with his work here. Definitely one of the top ten films of the year: It is authentic and bloody.