End of Watch (2012)

End of Watch (2012) movie poster

director David Ayer
viewed: 11/23/2013

One of those moments that is never a good sign: watching a movie and wondering to myself why I chose to watch it.

In this case, I was watching writer/director David Ayer’s latest film, End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña as two cocky, best buddy LAPD cops.  Ayer employs aspects of faux-found footage, using a number of cameras clipped to the officers’ clothes, in their squad car, even most improbably in Gyllenhaal’s character’s hands (he’s moonlighting at a junior college film class?!)  The most tired aspect of this motif is just such an implausible and stupid conceit like this to get more images.  Of course, this film isn’t 100% in that style, so it’s a little cheaper and a tiny bit better.

But the fake footage is tedious and doesn’t feel legitimate. Which draws away from the film a lot.

I think that this is where I started wondering why I was watching this film.

I’d seen Ayer’s directorial debut Harsh Times (2005) and his prior film Street Kings (2008).  Even though I didn’t think it was totally brilliant, Harsh Times has lingered in my mind as pretty interesting.  But now, after Street Kings and now End of Watch I think I need to remind myself that David Ayer’s gritty, streetwise LA crime films, focusing often on the LAPD, really hasn’t been all that fascinating.

End of Watch isn’t terrible but it’s not particularly notable either.  And ultimately it’s not really all that interesting.  It doesn’t have any slant or angle that adds to the genre.

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