End of Watch

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I had heard about the emotional impact of this film, but I was not prepared. Funny and intense and harrowing in equal measure.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena really make this film. Their undeniable, believable, infectious chemistry causes the viewer to become emotionally invested in their characters. The entire film feels like a documentary rather than fiction, which is what David Ayer was shooting for. Anna Kendrick and America Ferrera must also be mentioned for the passion and realism that they exhibit through their performances.

I really enjoyed End of Watch as a fly-on-the-wall narrative of the daily routine for LAPD officers. While the scenarios were expected and, in some cases unbelievable, it was entertaining and gripping to be a spectator. The overall plot involving the Mexican cartels is even more poignant and disturbing in today’s world.

The one thing that I didn’t care for was the constant shift in perspective. Some scenes would be shown from the hand-held footage, while others were shown from a third-person vantage. There were particular cases where a character would be holding a camera, and yet the scene was not filmed from said camera. It was somewhat disorienting and broke immersion.

The ending. Perhaps one of the most powerful finales of any film that I’ve seen. Raw and devastating. Even though I’m aware that End of Watch is a fictional film, I’m also aware that scenarios like this play out every day across the United States. These men and women truly deserve our gratitude and respect, despite the few bad seeds that tarnish the reputation of the whole.

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