End of Watch
END OF WATCH (15)
D: David Ayer
Open Road/Studio Canal/Exclusive Media (David Ayers, Matt Jackson, John Lesher & Nigel Sinclair)
USA 🇺🇸 2012
W: David Ayer
DP: Roman Vasyanov
Ed: Dody Dorn
Mus: David Sardy
Jake Gyllenhaal (Brian Taylor), Michael Peña (Mike Zavala), Anna Kendrick (Janet Taylor), Natalie Martinez (Gabby Zavala), America Ferrera (Officer Orozco), Frank Grillo (Sgt. Daniels)
End of Watch is a rather humdrum cops & robbers crime drama which uses the "found footage" style gimmick to give itself from originality.
The story, not a million miles away from 1988's Colors (qv), follows two LAPD officers on their regular beat as they use handheld camera devices to document their duties. They get involved too deep in one of their investigations into gang members and become marked men themselves.
The gimmick here doesn't really work because the filmmakers don't truly commit to it, using the gimmick outside of work hours when the men are with their families and not ringing true (which would be the whole point of using the filmmaking style). A good example would be when Jake Gyllenhaal and his wife, Anna Kendrick, are taking a regular journey by themselves, yet someone is still present to film them (ironically one of the more memorable moments and probably the sweetest scene in the entire film).
The documentary-style sub genre is getting rather stale since it was first used in films such as The Blair Witch Project and if the filmmakers can't commit to the style, then the audience will struggle with it too. It feels like a lie.
A disappointment considering the acting talents of Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña & Anna Kendrick, who all do well, unfortunately, the director has let them down here.