End of Watch Movie Review [8.7/10 - Great]
Review by The Village Voice
Born in 1968, filmmaker David Ayer grew up in the infamously troubled region known as South Central Los Angeles. As an adult, his Hollywood calling card was the screenplay for Training Day (2001), in which Denzel Washington played a corrupt South Central cop. For End of Watch, his third film as writer-director, Ayer has gone home yet again, and as in his previous work, one gets the sense of a skilled craftsman who has learned everything he knows about the ‘hood not from firsthand experience but from going to the movies. And so it is that the daily routine of street cops Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) includes encounters with drug-addled parents who brutalize their kids, a nightgown-clad black mother screaming “My babies! My babies!” in front of her burning house, and Latina gang girls who literally cackle as they kill.
Review by AZ Central
Combine mismatched police partners, fake found footage and worried spouses, and “End of Watch” sounds like just another cliched cop movie.
Not so. Writer and director David Ayer manages to overcome the shortcomings of the genre, many of which are present here, with great chemistry between his actors and sheer momentum. The film starts with a car chase that leads to a gunbattle and only slows down for quips between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, as two LAPD officers working a particularly tough neighborhood. That first incident is shot through the dashboard camera on their police cruiser, just one of several ways Ayer comes up with reasons for such footage to exist.
Review by Kansas City
You’ve seen the buddy cop movie a million times before, especially the mismatched buddy cop movie. Having the police officers come from different racial backgrounds is an especially tried-and-true element of this genre; it allows them to make fun of each other for the way they talk, the stuff they like, the activities that take up their free time. It’s good for a reliable laugh, in theory.
You’ve also seen the found-footage movie a million times before, beginning with the precedent-setting “Blair Witch Project” in 1999 and again in recent years following the success of the low-budget 2007 horror film “Paranormal Activity.” A character carries a camera around everywhere, documenting everything, or maybe a camera just happens to be rolling and it captures secret or strange goings-on we wouldn’t be privy to otherwise. It’s a conceit that reflects the narcissism of the iPhone generation. Why wouldn’t we record everything we do? Everything we do matters.