If you want to know or witness the worst in people, become a cop. It is NOT a light-hearted vocation. Like the television series “Southland,” “End of Watch” is about Los Angeles police officers and the most unrelenting hell they put themselves through.
Jake Gyllenhaal excellently portrays one such beat cop, Brian Taylor, an ex-Marine dedicated and eager to put the bad guys away, but not hardened to the travesties he and his partner, Mike Zavala (Michael Pena), discover almost daily perpetrated by the lowest of the low and the meanest of the mean. For their accomplishments, they receive several accolades from their department, as well as earn a Mexican drug cartel contract. Taylor is studying to be a detective and is filming, without approval, his daily activities for an elective course. To relieve tension, Taylor and Pena tease their peers with pranks, which are only appreciated by the audience.
Janet (Anna Kendrick) is Taylor’s love interest. Natalie Martinez plays Pena’s wife, Gabby. And, Van Hauser (David Harbour) is the squad’s unrespected dickhead.
David Ayer (S.W.A.T., TRAINING DAY, U-571, et al) wrote and directed “End of Watch.” It is not a nice movie but is very well done, despite all the ef words. At times, I thought it quite pathetic that the illiterate lowlifes had such extraordinarily limited vocabularies at their disposal. No wonder such people feel violence is their only way to gain respect.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.