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Customer Review

38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A you-are-there, gut wrenching cop drama, September 27, 2012
This review is from: End of Watch (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) (Blu-ray)
If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be a beat cop in L. A. without the danger, this David Ayer film may be as close as you'll get. Shot in the overused "found footage" style, we get a tension filled action drama with excellent character development and sense of realism. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena give memorable performances as partners who are also best friends and confidants, each inviting the other into their extended families.

Officers Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Pena) are hot shot cops who want to do more than make traffic arrests while patrolling a mixed gang section of L. A. Sometimes heroic (rescuing children from a burning house or from an abusive home) and sometimes foolish (not waiting for backup) they manage to stumble upon an arm of a Mexican cartel involved in human trafficking. Taylor is filming everything as a project for a class he is taking at a local college. In addition to using a small traditional HD camera, he attaches mini cameras to himself and his partner. The squad car is also enhanced with an inward focused camera in addition to the normal outbound dash-cam.

This works most of the time. The trick works best when it captures the two cops in their car talking to each other. We get a real sense of their camaraderie and brotherly love for each other. It also works well when they enter homes and buildings. When we only get to see what they are seeing, there is a true sense of dread and concern. The effect doesn't always work however. Doesn't it seem a bit unusual to see a co-ed cluster of gang-bangers also shooting footage? For what, their trial? In the most flagrant use of the home video, who is taking those midrange shots of the cops while they chit chat in a convenience store? "End of Watch" is a solid, exciting, gut wrenching cop drama and is certainly worth seeing although you may feel a bit dizzy when it's all over.
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