Freelance Journalist


End Of Watch/Femininity.

Director David Ayer's bad-ass cop dramas have somehow found an even grittier edge in the found-footage style of End of Watch, in which his penchant for masculine bravado strikes a more honest tone in the relationship between officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena).

The plot itself is fairly by-the-book; two over-zealous and self-assured cops make the bust of a lifetime and inadvertently land themselves on the cartel's hit list. But with its episodic pacing and cinematography, the film really breathes new life into the standard police procedural flick. As Taylor and Zavala bust in on junkies gagging and binding their children, or on a serial-killer's bloody hideout or on the brutal attack on a fellow officer, Ayer fleshes out not just his incredibly relatable protagonists, but also the turbulent and volatile city in which they live. Each call the duo get ups the stakes irreversibly, until the plot reaches a palpable climax riddled with bullets, blood and tears.

The camerawork is a patchwork of handheld mediums; from Taylor's own HD recorder, to a set of clip-on lenses both wear, to the cartel's personal cameraman and to the omnipresent third-person cameras through which the rest of the action is framed. This jumble of perspectives collapses in on itself frequently and you're often left wondering who's filming what and why. Still, the overall effect is truly immersive, and once it grabs you, you're left at the mercy of the captivating bromantic chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Pena.

Somewhere between Cloverfield, Pineapple Express and Serpico, End of Watch is a great addition to the flourishing evolution of action films.