DVD Review: End of Watch

end of watch

It’s time to ride along with the LAPD through South Central, but this is no “Adam 12”.  It’s a realistic roller-coaster ride told with hand-held cameras and other devices.

Jake Gyllenhaal is Officer Brian Taylor and Michael Pena is Officer Mike Zavala.  They are unorthodox, a bit reckless but overall very concerned about staying safe.

Taylor is a former U.S. Marine who’s determined to chronicle his patrol with a video camera.  Much of the film is from his camera’s POV.  The other officers don’t like it much, but Taylor ignores them and his supervisor by continuing to record his watch.  The film also uses other sources of video to tell the story including dash cams and surveillance cameras.

What makes this much more than an episode of “Cops” is the filmmaking skills of writer-director David Ayer (“Training Day”).  Ayer convincingly shows how police officers and gang members might interact.   He also adds a very unusual circumstance: Taylor and Zavala anger a local drug cartel and are eventually placed on its hit list.  The tension created feels real.

“End of Watch” is a tribute to police officers everywhere.  It showcases the bravery, friendship and courage that fuels the thin blue line.  It’s an effective thriller.  Grade: B

Fast Facts:

Street Date: January 22, 2013

Formats: Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand

Runtime: 110 minutes

Rated: “R”

Released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment

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