Much like Chronicle and Cloverfield, both of which use a handheld feel in their films, End of Watch is no different. It gives a documentary feel to the film, much like one of the many cop shows you see on the television. It focuses on two police officers, Brian and Mike, working on patrol in LA, mainly South Central. A place burdened with black and Hispanic gangs.
Brian and Mike (played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, respectively) are first seen in action chasing down a car. Eventually when the car is pulled over, they are open fired on and Brian and Mike are only left with the option to kill them. After a few cases they are solved by the duo, it leads them into a trouble that involves them with the Mexican Cartel and the drug running they operate throughout South LA.
However, these are not the only cases we see during the film, the duo are seen reporting to cases involving missing children, but also saving children from a burning house. Eventually one of the cases see the duo rescue a vast number of people trapped in a house that would’ve been sold via human trafficking means. This starts the dangerous path with Brian and Mike and the Cartel. They are even warned by a very muscular man with a gun, that they’ll get bit if they keep “tugging on the tail of the snake”.
Eventually, Brian and Mike are ‘greenlit’ to be killed by the Cartel after their arrests disrupt the operations of the cartel. As expected, they are coaxed in by the cartel which leads to a shootout involving both parties. Of course, they’ll be no spoilers, but the ending is somewhat disheartening. Especially the closing scene.
What is rather enjoyable about this film, is the relationship between Brian and Mike, whom when not on duty spend an awful lot of time together. Not only are they partners, they are best mates. Sharing intimate details about each other’s lives, throughout there is repeated lines of them being brothers and doing anything for each other. Including taking care of the corresponding friends family should anything happen.
This relationship, coupled with the shot style (which I’ve always enjoyed, personally) holds the film together which doesn’t have a solid storyline. It’s very brief and very guessable. The film standing at an hour and forty minutes, much of the film is filled up with cases they take, that are connected with the Cartel, significant events in the duo’s lives, like the birth of a child and the marriage of Brian and Janet (played by Anna Kendrick). Other than that, screen space is mostly taken up by the conversations of Brian and Mike – mostly being about drivel that could be put down to improvisation. There is definitely an apt amount of crime and drama within the film, consisting of drive-by shootings and the investigations with dead bodies around them. Not forgetting the police officer being stabbed in his eye and someone nearly being killed by a Hispanic man. It’s all very graphic at some points, and shows that this could possibly be the real world of Hispanic gangs in LA. However, it’s an enjoyable film all the same if crime films are your cup of tea with a dose. Of graphic scenes.