When it's over, Writer/Director David Ayer (Harsh Times, Training Day, Dark Blue) holds me spellbound, yet again. End of Watch lingers long after the credits roll. Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Michael Pena) are two partners, who are like brothers, patrolling the mean streets of South Central, Los Angeles. When they accidentally disrupt the business of a Mexican cartel, they become targets. Gyllenhaal and Pena are amazingly believable, due more to talent than casting. Their chemistry is palpable. I completely believe they are the best of friends. The film is shot in documentary style, which adds to the effectiveness of the daily grind that the two men endure. The jerky camera movements and odd angles give the viewer a sense of being right there, in the moment, with the two men, whether it's in their patrol cars, in the locker room, or at a crime scene. Every scene just pulls me in, and I want to know more. Ayer's story is fantastic, tightly written and expertly told. I love the dialogue, because it captures the way people communicate - the street lingo, cop jargon, and F bombs - all contribute to the sculpting of a place, a time, and a certain attitude among the characters. No matter how frantic the scenes become, the story stays on target, always coming back to the two best friends.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5