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End of Watch

October 7, 2012

Officer Taylor: We’re cops, everyone wants to kill us.

End of Watch is a fantastic cop film, plain and simple.  The first few films that used handheld cameras used it because it was an innovative technique. Now, when films use it, I thought it was an excuse to be lazy and not invest in real good cinematographers.  Boy, was I wrong.  End of Watch shows that handheld films can still be surprising and innovative.  It works so well here because it uses multiple cameras, including the car and plenty of other methods.  As long as it serves a purpose, I have no issue with its use now or in the future.  But when it’s used for frivolous purposes, it becomes grating and obnoxious.  Luckily, that’s not what happens in End of Watch.  This film is just brilliant. Watch your six.

End of Watch‘s camera style IS the visual language, it should convey meaning through its images to the audience, not challenging the viewer to try and focus on what’s being presented through snap editing and shifty-eyed camerawork.  And the writing… my god.  This is a script that deserves ALL the accolades.  The two main characters – perfectly portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena give nuanced performances that easily will earn nominations for supporting actor (?).  If you aren’t seeing the film for the action, you’re seeing it for the acting. 

Gruesome, disturbing, unpredictable. Those are a few words to describe End of Watch‘s last hour. The fuzz gets deep in a Mexican drug cartel gang and sticks their feet a little too deep, waging an all-out war between cops and crooks.  The way the film pans out is so intense that you may need a few days to process it.  Not giving anything away, but it’s pretty damn brutal. 

If you’re looking for a smart, tense, well-written cop drama, then go see End of Watch.  Still in theaters!

End of Watch: 4.5/5

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