After The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans, The Shield, Rampart and a dozen other such dramas featuring morally compromised law enforcers, it’s a relief to finally see a film about cops who are relatively law-abiding and sane. Brian and Miguel are LAPD patrol officers, played with bromantic ardour by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. Neither is excessively bright, but they’re good company, and good at their job. Director David Ayer (who wrote Training Day and directed Street Kings, both about crooked cops) takes his time, allowing us to observe their banter and bursts of action. Then, just when we're wrapped up in their lives, things turn tense.
End of Watch is an entertaining cop flick, but it isn’t above pretension. The shaky, odd-angled images look like they’ve been captured on spy cam. This is attributed to Brian making a video for a film class he’s joined, but the conceit isn’t followed through (the deliberately amateurish visuals aren’t limited to his point-of-view). Though this may have been intended as a comment on reality shows such as Cops, it’s more of a distraction than anything else.
Anna Kendrick brings humour and warmth to an underwritten role. Her willingness to goof off onscreen makes her a good fit for the amiable Gyllenhaal. Their chemistry notwithstanding, the real love story is of the two brothers in arms. The film acknowledges this, but stops short of puncturing this cliché of clichés. Still, while we continue to wait for a film about cops who aren’t crazy and/or in love with each other, End of Watch is a good interim option. No special features.
This uninspired review appeared in Time Out Delhi.
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