Cop movies rule. There is a strange fascination we the public have with the insane job of policing. To put your life on the line for the good of the public is an amazing thing. I still watch COPS and Jail if I come across them flipping channels. When I saw the trailers for End of Watch it seemed like an ill-conceived blend of cop movie and found footage film. It really didn’t do much for me and as a result I skipped it in on the big screen. So now that it hits Blu-ray, it was time to give it a chance, but how will it stack up?
Police officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) are partners, but they are also very close in their personal lives, almost like brothers. When Brian takes a film class in his off time, he uses small cameras to document his job as a police officer as a project for the class. Over time, a few cases Brian and Mike respond to lead them to believe there may be a cartel operating in the neighbourhoods they patrol. Looking into it further, they start making arrests which draw attention from the heads of the cartel, who proceed to put a price on their heads. Now trying to balance their personal lives with an increasingly more dangerous work life, Brian and Mike must find the balance while also bringing justice to the streets.
Talk about being thrown for a spin. While I anticipated End of Watch to be mediocre at best, what I found was a well written, tightly paced thriller that blends found footage style, documentary style and traditional style filmmaking into one original feeling production that had be fully immersed by the half hour mark. Gyllenhaal and Peña are both fantastic and do an amazing job of making their characters be borderline assholes, but never crossing the line into that territory, instead making them sympathetic and letting us know what a job like that does to someone’s personality. In addition to the great characters and pacing, you get a hefty dose of incredible action sequences that sometimes shock and astound. End of Watch ended up having it all.
The Blu-ray from VVS is great, utilizing the documentary style footage to its potential with a very lifelike presentation with great detail, natural color and amazing clarity. This really looks like legit HD footage and lends very well to the documentary feel of the film. A nice surprise and a great cop thriller, End of Watch is highly recommended.
Available January 22, 2013 on Blu-ray and DVD.