End of Watch | Chicago Reader

End of Watch

Rated R 109 minutes 2012

I'm not sure who appointed David Ayer poet laureate for the LAPD, but at least he takes the job seriously; along with the usual mean-streets bluster and brutality, his cop-thriller screenplays (Training Day, Dark Blue) conscientiously record the hardening effects of a thankless and frequently pointless job. This story of two patrolmen in South Central (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) turns on a first-person gimmick—as part of an amateur filmmaking project, the characters wear micro-cameras on their shirts as they roll—and though Ayer, directing his third feature, drops the conceit whenever it's inconvenient, it enables him to fashion a consistently gripping tale without resorting to Hollywood plot mechanics. In fact, there's very little plot here at all, just an alternating current of patrol-car comedy and nightmarish emergency calls that require the heroes to plunge blindly into dangerous situations, until they stumble onto one that offers no escape.

Film Credits

Director: David Ayer

Producer: John Lesher, David Ayer, Nigel Sinclair, Matt Jackson, Randall Emmett, Stepan Martirosyan, Remington Chase, Adam Kassan, Chrisann Verges, Guy East, Tobin Armbrust and Jake Gyllenhaal

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Natalie Martinez, Anna Kendrick, David Harbour, Frank Grillo, America Ferrera, Cle Sloan, Jaime Fitzsimmons and Cody Horn

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End of Watch

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