Runstedler’s DVD Pick of the Month: End of Watch

David Ayer’s latest film End of Watch is certainly his best. Ayer has been a hit-or-miss director throughout his career, directing everything from Training Day (hit) to the shitty film S.W.A.T. (miss). End of Watch stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña as two LAPD cops who patrol South Central.

The film establishes their day-to-day routine, which includes rescuing bound children from unstable crack addicts, fighting unruly civilians and busting a shady Mexican for speeding and discovering much more. The latter incident initially appears minor, as a mundane event, only it serves a far greater purpose and becomes part of the central plot. It turns out that the shady Mexican guy is in possession of drugs and firearms that connect him with the drug cartels, and the cartel launches a vendetta against the two police officers with devastating results.

I liked everything about this movie, from the style it was shot in to the characters to the plot. Originally, Ayer wanted the film to be one of those found footage films, but instead, he integrates the handheld camera into the film with interesting effects. This has a positive result and I think it reinforces the documentary aspects of the film. The documentary feel of the film also makes the film seem unpredictable, which is a potency that truly supports the film. It’s shocking and a bit scary how things can go from jokes and laughter one minute to death and disaster the next, but I guess that’s how they roll in South Central. End of Watch is a pleasure to watch, and after To Live and Die in L.A. and Hard Boiled, it’s probably the best cop movie I’ve ever seen. Apparently Ayer wrote the script in only a few days too!

Here are my favourite films of 2012:

  1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  2. End of Watch
  3. The People of the Kattawapiskak River
  4. Prometheus
  5. Moonrise Kingdom

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