On a very rare day when I didn’t have specific movie agenda-ing afoot, I simply went the theater to see what was playing. Is this how the other half lives? Very liberating. In any case, this new Gyllenhaal-Pena cop drama was the most convenient thing going. With no intention of seeing it, nevertheless, I took it for a ride. Whew. This is a good movie.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena play beat cop partners with a camaraderie possibly more beautiful than Murtaugh-Riggs of yore. They are best friends who can razz each other while also laying down the police force on the inner city streets of LA. They are not detectives but they stumble upon a potentially huge crime den that guides the movie’s primary trajectory. They shouldn’t be investigating but they are determined.
There are two unusual qualities that make End Of Watch a cut above. First, the cops are not corrupt. They are simply trying their best to quash gangland behavior and see the city become safer. Sure, they bumble a little in their efforts, but it is not due to any endemic nefarious trait. It was a nice change to see a movie with integrity filled cops that still manages to be suspenseful and highly charged with entertainment. Second, Gyllenhaal’s character is taking a film studies class on the side (it is the arts requirement credit to his BA) and this enables an interesting shooting style. His character wears a camera on his chest providing gritty and grainy footage of his actions that is integrated in with the steadier, more professional looking shots from the filmmaker’s perspective.
Bonus points for the gang actors looking (and possibly being) so real.
Cry factor: more than teary-eyed.
On a scale of Beverly Hills Cop (10) to Cop Out (2) I give this an 8.5.