End of Watch

Year: 2012
Production Co: Exclusive Media Group
Director: David Ayer
Producer: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, David Harbour, America Ferrera, Cody Horn

David Ayer (Street Kings, Dark Blue) once again returns to the mean streets of contemporary South Central and LA's finest who try to keep it under control. It sounds like a criticism to say End Of Watch has a YouTube generation-inspired style, but the lo-fi, warzone-cam POV makes it gritty and immersive.

Jake Gyllenhhaal also returns to a bald, masculine character as cop Brian, who rolls through the harshest neighbourhoods of LA with his partner and best friend Mike (Pena) while the local gangbangers be hatin'.

But these two aren't quite LA's finest. When they attend a call, the trash talking thug they confront smart mouths them so much Mike ends up challenging the guy to a fist fight in his living room while Brian encourages him from the sidelines. Presumably the LAPD either weren't involved in the production or read the script – they never would have approved cops behaving like such bozos.

But Mike and Brian are on the trail of a drug sting and a few routine busts lead them to ever more serious offences, including a human trafficking safehouse full of captive immigrants.

Without realising it, they're signing their own death warrants as they edge closer to the powerful Mexican cartel operating in the area, and as they go about their lives and loves, a fearsome Mexican gang is plotting their assassinations.

There's lots of muscle-flexing, gunplay and chase sequences. It's an exciting and dramatically heavy thriller, but it's also another movie that makes you wonder if Hollywood doesn't trade on the reputation of the area it helped to create, with automatic weapons tearing apartment complexes full of meth labs to shreds on a daily basis.

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