Pretty much everything about this movie struck me as being at least a little exaggerated. It begins, for example, with a torrent to F bombs that definitely leaves an impression. And the bad guys seem extremely bad, like the man who ties up and tapes shut the mouths of two very young children, and then hides the kids in a closet. Then there is the discovery of a large group of some very distressed people who are the product of human trafficking. Or how about the bad guy who plants a knife in a police officers eyeball. Now that is grotesque and very bad. So clearly this is a very tough and gritty film about two Los Angeles police officers.
But there is also a soft side as Officer Brian Taylor portrayed splendidly by Jake Gyllenhaal falls in love with a beautiful young woman as his partner Officer Mike Zavala played at star level by Michael Pena humorously lectures him about relationships and family Mexican style. Indeed it is the clearly deep and strong relationship between these two police partners that drives this film.
But as the film progresses it occurred to me that there are indeed some severely evil people in our world and that not infrequently police officers who work together do often develop a deep sense of brotherhood and camaraderie far greater and deeper than in the more mundane work environment most of us experience.
It is a routine traffic stop that results in the two LAPD officers becoming the target of a dark and powerful drug cartel. The ending is neither pleasant nor typical. It is a very gritty, very strong action film with superb acting by the entire cast and Oscar level writing and direction from David Ayer. I won’t say that it will earn an Oscar nomination but it could and this last week it landed in number one at the box office beating out “Trouble with the Curve” and “Finding Nemo” with a box office over $13 million on a production budget of $7 million. I thoroughly enjoy it when an independent film with what is by typical Hollywood standards a very modest budget kicks some box office booty.
“End of Watch” will move you and is well worth your time and money. But again I do caution that if a torrent of F bombs and some rather gruesome images trouble you avoid this movie. That warning having being made, you will be moved, inspired and largely entertained by what you see.
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