For a delightfully different kind of cop movie, pick End Of Watch.
Here, there’s no big gunfight set piece where the members of the force fight street gangs. There’s no good cop versus bad cop either. There’s not even really a big case that involves a huge twisted plot to begin with. There’s no intentional wisecracking and there are no witty one-liners to get you into the characters. There’s
What exists is a movie about two cops who are just doing their jobs. Like you doing your job and me doing mine. The difference is, their job constitutes of dealing with some very nasty bastards and being in some very hairy situations. This movie brings us near their jobs, documentary-style (complete with shaky, dizzying handheld camera work that gave me motion sickness – so you know the lengths they went to make this look as real as possible), so you get pulled really deeply into its intensity.
Far be it from me to judge its authenticity, but the story feels very honest. Even at its funniest (such as when a blowjob is being discussed) or gruesome (like when knife was sticking out of a guy’s eye), it never seemed gimmicky. When they talk down on a rookie cop, it’s not comic relief – it’s genuine abuse. When they rescue kids from danger, it’s not a heroic moment – it’s real responsibility.
Props must be given to Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña for being able to delivering that honesty to us. Gyllenhaal tones down his charm and ends up giving one of the best performances in his career (I’m not a fan of his so consider that a high praise from me), but my favorite was Michael Peña. He was amusing, charming, engaging and earnest in this role – not just a perfect balancing act for the more serious cop Gyllenhaal played, but also the real star of the show. Definitely not bad for two actors who reportedly did not really click on the first day of shooting.
Supporting roles from the likes of Anna Kendrick and America Ferrera were also interesting to see but instead of being a crowded star-studded movie, this remained a low-key arthouse-esque cop flick. And it’s all the better for it. (Lay off the shaking camera movement, though.) End Of Watch is one movie you’d be glad you’d sit through for almost 2 hours.