Verdict - Must watch
It looks like writer-director David Ayer has dedicated his life to make edge-of-the-seat cop thrillers with conviction and undying passion. It was â€œTraining Dayâ€ in 2001, followed by â€œHarsh Timesâ€ in 2006 and finally, â€œStreet Kingsâ€ in 2008. Just when we were beginning to assume that the director has finally given up on the idea, Ayer returns strongly like never before with a high-octane cop-buddy thriller called â€œEnd of Watchâ€, which is more or less about the lives of cops in the Bronx of LA, but what differentiates this latest installment in the â€œIt's yet another cop storyâ€ franchise is the striking found-footage style filmmaking.
Two young officers, Brian Taylor (Jake) and Mike Zavala (Pena) are best friends and inseparable partners in the line of work. Known for their offbeat working style, though the duo is highly appreciated by near and dear in the department, but are always warned for their â€œI can handle itâ€ attitude. On one of their patrols, Brian and Mike come in contact with a drug-lord, after which they find themselves marked for death by the cartel. Before it's too late, the cop-buddies should figure out who wants them dead and see if they can stop it.
Shot completely in pseudo-documentary and found-footage style, â€œEnd of Watchâ€ may not have a new story to tell, but definitely tell us an old story in the most enjoyable fashion with lot of detailing. It focuses a lot on the unadulterated friendship between Brian and Mike who share such a lovely relationship that even brothers from the same mother may not share.
It's sad we've had films on cops and their lives, but never a film strictly about the inside out of a cop and his line of work, which includes things like doing the paper work, protecting partner's back etc. In the opening scene, hot on pursuit, Jake introduces himself as just another cop with a badge, and behind that badge, like every policeman, he too has a heart that bleeds. These few lines may sound clich\xe9d but they're intelligent, self-explanatory and help in setting up the premise quite early on in the film.
This is not a hardcore action film. The hilarious conversations the two have when patrolling gives the film a much needed dose of comic relief that doesn't appear artificial or made up, but very natural and smooth. The range of topics they cover in their conversations places special emphasis on the depth of their relationship. And since they sound unscripted throughout the film, Jake and Michael appear natural and shine in their respective roles.
Jake as the ex-marine-turned-cop with special interest in filmmaking, throws in a memorable performance that's sure to go unnoticed, while Pena, in what I see as his career best role, may very likely have caught the attention of Oscar jury.
As entertaining and engaging as it appears mostly, â€œEnd of Watchâ€ has a mix of several sinister, violent, and emotionally affecting scenes that are not recommended for everyone. It doesn't matter even if you're not a fan of this genre, I'd still recommend this film as many as I know.
In essence; â€œEnd of Watchâ€ may have just superseded â€œTraining Dayâ€.