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END OF WATCH – Movie Review

Based on the trailers, positive buzz, and two great lead actors, I was definitely looking forward to End of Watch.  Cop movies are tough to pull off, due to a number of clichés we’ve come to expect.  However, when done well, they can be some of the best movies out there.  And thankfully, due to great direction, fantastic performances, and well-fleshed out characters, this is one of the best cop dramas to come out in recent years.

The film follows Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Miguel (Michael Peña), two LA cops who go on raids and missions busting drug gangs.  The film follows their friendship and the dangers they encounter while serving their city, with the Mexican drug cartel closing in on the two of them.

One of the best things this film has to offer is the acting.  Gyllenhaal and Peña are incredibly authentic and believable in their roles, and their chemistry is electric.  When these guys are not firing their guns, they have conversations just like we do, and their banter is oftentimes hilarious and sharp, while always staying resonant.  This makes these characters likeable and relatable, which is why you care about them when they get into life-threatening situations.

The cinematography in the movie has a guerilla, shaky style, which makes the action feel way more dangerous, intimate, and unique.  Sections of this movie are shot straight from different characters’ video cameras, in a point-of-view style.  This doesn’t necessarily hurt the movie, but it isn’t all that necessary.  Because the rest of this movie is shot in a similar handheld fashion, it would have made more sense to ditch the point-of-view gimmick altogether.

The ending to this movie is also heartfelt, emotional, and fully earned.  Because the characters are so well developed, the emotional impact the final scenes have doesn’t feel forced at all.  The last scene in the film is a perfect place to leave the audience with these characters.

Overall, thanks to some intense, stellar direction, memorable characters, and fantastic performances, End of Watch is one of the best movies of the year.  However, for the squeamish, you may have to look

FINAL RATING: 4/5

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