Officer Brian Taylor wastes no time setting the tone in his dramatic and action-filled movie, “End of Watch.”
“Behind my badge is a heart like yours,” he tells an unseen criminal in the opening scene. “I bleed, I think, I love, and yes, I can be killed.”
“End of Watch” follows Taylor Jake Gyllenhaal) and his partner, Officer Mike Zavala (Michael Peña), as they patrol the streets of South Central Los Angeles. Taylor, who is working on a pre-law degree, decides to document his life as a police officer for a film project. He pins a small camera to both his and Zavala’s uniforms and carries a handheld camera everywhere, capturing everything from arrests to annoyed coworkers.
The resulting film is part home movie, part video diary, complete with a shaky camera and an equal mix of slow and fast-paced action. The effect is so realistic that it could easily be mistaken for a documentary.
The two partners become the targets of the Mexican drug cartel, and the ensuing action is captivating, gruesome and downright shocking.
As the officers struggle with criminals and personal relationships alike, they reveal a raw and realistic side of police life that goes beyond an ordinary episode of “Cops.”
The characters work to break the common stereotype of cold, emotionless police officer that is seen in so many movies and television shows. They’re heroic and passionate about their job, but most of all, they’re human.
This fact is shown best through Taylor and Zavala’s partnership. The two joke and argue with each other, but their relationship is the strongest in the movie. Through their willingness to fight and die together, they show that they are more than coworkers — they’re brothers.
“We stand watch together,” Taylor says. “A thin blue line, protecting the prey from the predators, the good from the bad. We are the police.”
With its honest characters and gripping storyline, not to mention its remarkably unforgettable ending, “End of Watch” will leave viewers stunned and speechless.
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