END of Watch follows two LAPD officers, Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña), as they patrol the streets and investigate the crimes of a Mexican drug cartel.
They have been partners for the last few years and are well integrated in each others personal lives. Throughout the film, we see them in an informal manner – joking with co-workers and interacting socially at birthdays, weddings and at the birth of Zavala’s son. The strongest scenes of the film are of the two chatting in their patrol car while on the beat. Gyllenhaal and Peña have great chemistry together and make for a likeable and completely believable duo.
Rooted in the ‘found footage’ genre, most of the events are shot on Taylor’s camera, which he has at all times. Taylor is constantly reprimanded for filming crime scenes; he explains that he is taking film classes and wants to depict the life of a cop.
My only complaints with the film involve its look. Being a ‘found footage’ film, the ‘shaky-cam’ is heavily on display. I tried hard to ignore it but had little success – its an occasionally nauseating effect. ‘End of Watch’ is such a good film that it minimised such complaints, in fact, it made the effect somewhat palatable – shot in such a way, it added to the realism of what is a very gritty story.
Boasting a realistic plot, tense action and great acting, ‘End of Watch’ is one of the year’s best films.