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End of Watch
Genre Thriller
 
Review:

End of Watch is a buddy cop movie that has been shot like a found footage film. This film immerses itself in the world of two super cops in the L.A.P.D., documenting life on the beat and their personal relationships, as they inadvertently draw the attention of a notorious cartel.

David Ayer knows cop crime drama thrillers, having written Training Day, Dark Blue and S.W.A.T. As a director, he's notched up Street Kings and Harsh Times - making Ayer something of a specialist when it comes to solid crime thrillers. His films have always done the job proficiently, but just fallen short of brilliance... until End of Watch.

Ayer makes use of the found footage style of shooting, alternating between hand-held, spy and squad car cameras to create a sense of realism. End of Watch shares some similarities with Chronicle, using the style without turning it into an underlying concept as Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) documents a day-in-the-life of an officer as an undercover film school project.

End of Watch has got an edgy style and backs this up with a solid cast of up-and-coming to established actors including: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Natalie Martinez and Anna Kendrick. Gyllenhaal continues to impress audiences with his understated, yet charming lead performances. However, he can't do it without Michael Pena by his side. The two have great rapport and excellent chemistry, which charges the dialogue and propels the story with a believable bromance at its core.

Their competitive nature and diligent police work takes them beyond the call of duty, landing them accolades and enemies. Their infectious chemistry keeps the mood upbeat and entertaining, while their unconventional policing and investigations scratch at the skin of a sleeping giant in the Los Angeles crime network. As they dig deeper, they unwittingly become targets at the centre of a drug war.

End of Watch has good pacing and delivers short, sharp jabs of action only to fall back on the unpredictable as the cops uncover new crimes. The LAPD politics, spontaneous busts and attentions of cartel members maintain a dark, intense atmosphere as our heroes fly too close to the flame. We're so invested in their characters that they become like our friends, brothers even, keeping us alert and concerned for their safety every time they enter a dark alley, door or basement.

It's an edgy thrill ride that delivers grit, guts and belly laughs as these brave, committed yet naive crime-fighters go deeper underground. Realistic, shaky camera work adds to the frenetic pacing and energy of End of Watch, which is backed up by Ayer's crime genre writer-director experience. This is further reinforced by the script's rich, spontaneous dialogue with excellent buddy chemistry and strong co-lead performances from Gyllenhaal and Pena.

The bottom line: Edgy

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