A bond between brothers
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 00:10
Filled with comedy, action and suspense, “End of Watch” is the movie of the season. It is a phenomenal portrayal of a relationship between two best friends that become brothers. These brothers are not related by blood, but by the badge they wear and the standards they live by. Jake Gyllenhaal (“Donnie Darko”) and Michael Pena (“Crash”) star as two partnered California police officers patrolling the streets of Los Angeles. They are marked for death by the dangerous and notorious Mexican drug cartel after discovering drugs, money and guns in a gang member’s lair. After word gets out of their discovery, the two officers must fight for their lives both on and off the job.
Gyllenhaal plays police officer and former marine Brian Taylor. Pena plays police officer Michael Zavala, former high school stoner who is urged to become a cop by his high school sweetheart and wife, Gabby. The two officers meet in the police academy and become inseparable. The film reiterates Taylor’s and Zavala’s lives as cops. The audience witnesses guns fights, arrests, house fires, and missing person situations, many obstacles that the Los Angeles Police Department deals with on a daily basis. In the movie, Taylor states, “Most cops don’t even have to pull out their guns.” The fact that Taylor and Zavala load their guns about every five minutes makes the film that much more exciting.
“End of Watch” has its audience at the edge of their seats one minute and laughing hysterically the next. Taylor and Zavala are constantly going head to head with the gangs that run the streets of LA. In one scene, Zavala strips down to a T-shirt and pants, allowing himself to be vulnerable enough to fight a drunk who challenges and insults him. In another scene, Taylor and Zavala are patrolling the streets when Taylor begins to target Zavala’s culture by making fun of Zavala’s overly large family and his never ending invites to relatives’ Quinceaneras. It is the perfect combination of themes that make a great movie: action, adventure, suspense, comedy and even a twist at the end. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride with gut-wrenching scenes and stressful events. The relationship and bond between Gyllenhaal and Pena make it seem like they have known each other their whole lives.
Some graphic scenes are particularly disturbing, but bring character and emotion to the film. There are many scenes involving strong violence and some disturbing images. There is also an abundance of pervasive language in conversations between Taylor and Zavala, the gangs of LA and the other cops.The entire movie is filmed through Taylor’s camera for his college filmmaking class. He is constantly reprimanded for documenting crime scenes, but he persists in filming. The video camera point-of-view gives “End of Watch” an interesting spin. Some scenes are hard to follow, but the way the camera moves makes events seem more realistic. In the opening scene of the film, Taylor’s camera is resting on the dashboard of the police car, making the audience feel as though they are in the passenger seat of a car chase as Taylor and Zavala swerve through the narrow streets of LA.
The sound effects are loud and very realistic, and the gun shots will make the audiences’ hearts pump. The background music is very immersive and creates a sense of being involved in the scenes of the movie. The best part of the movie is that it could happen in a real-life situation. It makes the movie a heart wrenching and emotional thrill ride.
“End of Watch” is a must-see film that is Oscar-worthy. Taylor is definitely one of Gyllenhaal’s most impressive roles thus far in his acting career. There is a very good chance that both Gyllenhaal and Pena will receive awards for their excellent performances.
“End of Watch” receives 5 out of 5 stars.