Hollywood rarely gets it right when it comes to portraying police officers. That’s what makes the new movie, End of Watch, so refreshing and sets it apart from others in the cop flick genre.
The film manages to convey a lot about the day-to-day elements of police work: how officers deal with each other, how they work their way through the bureaucracy of the job, how unusual and surprising the violence actually is when it breaks up the routine of the job.
Writer/director David Ayer might not be the one you’d expect to make this movie, since he’s worked on some of the best LAPD dirty cop movies ever, including Training Day, which won Denzel Washington an Academy Award. End of Watch feels like a conscious attempt to show the other side of the LAPD, a thank you note to all the men and women who certainly helped Ayer with the research behind his other movies.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s Officer Brian Taylor and Michael Peña’s Office Mike Zavala bring an amazing low-key chemistry to their onscreen partnership. The scenes that capture the mundane parts of the job and their off-duty social are the best part of the movie, situations that give the characters a kind of dignity and humanity you don’t often get in a Hollywood cop movie.
Don’t worry – you’ll find the requisite car chases and shoot-outs, too. The action plot centers around Mexican drug cartels operating as a paramilitary force in SoCal. You’ll forget the details of that five minutes after you leave the theater but the character details might stick with you for a long, long time.
Don’t just take it from us. Check out what LAPD officers had to say after an advance screening: