Hollywood has put out more than enough L.A. cop dramas over the years. It's a genre that's been thoroughly played out: the actor showcasing his chops playing a corrupt cop digging himself deeper into a pit of mental anguish and despair, the predators made out to be the victims of ruthless police more corrupt than those they cuff.
Now, David Ayer is bringing us something fresh. "End of Watch" follows two top cops who aren't corrupt and do what they do to protect those who can't protect themselves. To say this is a novel take on a cop drama only speaks volumes about the ignorance of Hollywood when it comes our country's first responders.
Warning: Intense language
Synopsis: Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache
of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel during a
routine traffic stop.
Thoughts: The most appealing aspect about "End of Watch" is something you can't normally go into a theater feeling: unpredictability. Ayer is using a camera style that doesn't fall into any senseless category like "shaky cam" or "steady cam" or "found footage." He's using it all, throwing style curve balls that make the film seem like it's really going to pop. There's also an epic third act that is only hinted at, but it seems Ayer and his crew could pull off a classic resolution if the elements fall into place.
Ayer is also showcasing a film that is "hip" by industry standards. It's rated R and uses all the latest camera techniques, plus it stars two recognizable stars - Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. Yet, he doesn't need to bog the story down with senseless corrupt cops and the nonsense we've seen Hollywood throw at us before. Ayer is bringing an old-school mentality wrapped in the newest paper and bow for Hollywood.
Gyllenhaal and Pena both look genuine in their roles and not like movie stars playing cops and robbers. They appear to have strong chemistry that could hold the movie together as well. The film shows two cops who are loyal to each other, their jobs and their loved ones.
"End of Watch" feels like a reaction to the corrupt cop movie in the same way that "Dirty Harry" was a response to the "criminal is the victim" narrative. Ayer has stated that he wanted to pull off the ultimate cop movie. The trailer for "End of Watch" suggests he may have succeeded. Let's all find out on September 21st.