I was kinda put off this movie at first, and I've realised it's mostly because of the name. End Of Watch? What does that mean? I still don't know, but not knowing didn't particularly ruin my experience of the movie. At least I don't think it did.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as Brian and Miguel (guess which one's which), our cop buddy partner heroes. Brian is taking a part time course in something creative, so he's decided to record his police experiences through various well placed cameras. While answering a few routine calls that turn out to be a lot more disturbing and latino gang related than they first seem, Brian and Miguel find themselves quickly pissing off a lot of dangerous people (who also have well placed cameras). But they still have time to shoot the shit and live normal lives and such.
Okay, I don't make the plot sound too enthralling, but it's actually not bad. The switch up between action and quiet moments lends a nice pacing to the whole affair, and once the "found footage" element starts to let up a bit, allowing for some more natural movie camera angles, it actually turns into a quite well rounded picture. Gyllenhaal and Peña have quite the chemistry and camaraderie between them, and everyone else playing the part of their friends and family really help to build up our connection with these characters. While the plot may seem a little bit disconnected at first, it all comes together quite nicely, and builds up to quite an exciting climax. Still, it does take a while to get there, and while the pacing is done well for the most part, some parts are a little dragged out.
End Of Watch was certainly a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. The found footage element, while quite weird at first, and then practically non-existent, certainly does help to give a more realistic feel to the whole thing. It's quite a personal and intense look at the relationships formed between partners, and while it's not perfect, it's the best cop movie I've seen in a long while.
My rating: 4/5