I want you to think back to the last really great American cop movie you saw - not anything jokey like 21 Jump Street or The Other Guys but a really, gritty cop movie. I've looked back over nearly 200 movie reviews and the only ones of real note that stand out are Safehouse or even the disappointing Brooklyn's Finest but in reality - there hasn't been a really capturing street cop movie since Training Day.
That's why End of Watch is so brilliant - its taken Training Day and just made it better. There are obvious differences - in this, we have two of L.A's finest uniformed street Cops, both against corruption and as honest as the day is long but with the movie almost entirely shot from a POV camera, carried by Taylor (Gyllenhaal) as he documents the trials of life as a Street Cop we are by far, more along for the ride in this movie than any other you can care to think about.
If you ever wanted to know the dangers and truths behind a White Cop in South Central L.A then this is the movie for you. Drive-by's, gang warfare and horrific murders are all witnessed and this movie is a real eye opener to what could go on after dark in places that many of us wouldn't dare to enter but for these regular unassuming heroic officers - it just makes up part of their day to day career choice.
One thing you wont expect is the amount of swearing - its non-stop and just not from the gangs, our boys in blue are as foul mouthed as the rest of them in a script that sits 6th in a list of movies using the most F* words - a total of 326 which broken down is approximately x3 per minute. If that's not your thing then it will be hard to take this movie on board without noticing it but somehow it works - the language fits with the setting and makes these guys far more real in their roles than any actors seen of recent times.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are fantastic to the point of award winning in both their parts and the limited support cast including Twilight's Anna Kendrick along with a few others, although brilliant - easily play second fiddle to the lead roles. Their brutal take of street life is mirrored by the rest of the department with a 'Do or Die' attitude to policing the streets and even after the jokes and jibes around the precinct subside - its apparent that this team have each others backs, whatever the circumstance.
There is no sub plot of betrayal of corruptness which means you don't have to keep guessing whats coming next although you start to wonder early on where the movie will end up and as I managed to guess - it goes down a path that will bring a tear to your eye but its received and honoured respectively and just makes the whole movie far more real.
You don't have to worry about the movie just ambling on with no real direction, its not just call out after call out but when our two officers stumble across a human trafficking ring its the bad guys south of the border who call time on the two cops and with a price on their head - its only a matter of time until the gangs catch up with them.
Other movies that have taken this POV approach (Blair Witch etc) have been jerky and sometimes tricky to watch and keep up with and although this has some of that - there is also a 3rd party perspective that keeps the running of the movie fluid and seamless.
Although this movie certainly wont appeal to all audiences, it appealed to me and if you like your Cop movies full of action and suspense - then this is definitely one to watch.