Saturday, September 22, 2012

End of Watch

I was pumped for End of Watch from the time that I first saw the trailer. It had the gritty cop movie trailer done perfectly and it also had Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal, who are two of my favorite actors. The movie was written and directed by the same writer as Training Day, Harsh Times, The Fast and The Furious, and Dark Blue. So everything was in place for this movie to be a resounding success in every way possible. It turned out to be better than I had hoped and it was a really special movie.

End of Watch follows two police officers in the Los Angeles Police Department, Brian Taylor(Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala(Pena). They are two hot shots who are coming off an incident where they had to kill two suspects that opened fire on them while in pursuit in their squad car. At the same time both officers are dealing with major events in their personal lives. Mike's wife (Natalie Martinez) is pregnant with their first child and Brian is in his first committed relationship with Janet (Anna Kendrick). Over the course of several months they start to have run-ins with members of a Mexican drug cartel that is operating in Los Angeles. After the incidents with the cartel members, the officers are squarely put in the cross-hairs of the cartel and that is where the action takes off.

Lately I have been throwing around words such as "awesome" and "great" when it comes to acting performances and at times I may be slightly over exaggerating. This is one of the first times that I will use the word "special" when it comes to acting performances, because the performances given by Gyllenhaal and Pena are special. It would not surprise me if either or both of them received nominations for the bigger acting awards. Pena has had nominations for awards before but it seems like Gyllenhaal gets passed over because people think he is just another pretty boy actor. He has had a great string of movies over the last few years with Love and Other Drugs, Brothers, and Source Code.

The reason their performances are so great is the chemistry between the actors on-screen. Over the course of the movie, you really start to believe that these guys would take a bullet for each other and would die protecting each other if need be. The fact that they trained for the movie for five months together with the LAPD also helped with making the actions in the movie seem as realistic and plausible as possible. The relationships they have with their significant others in movie also grounds the characters in reality because instead of being stereotypical cops they are actually fully realized people, who are just like you and me.

This was one of the best movies that I have seen this year so far and easily ranks side by side with Training Day as my favorite "cop" movies of all time. The movie is worth going to see for the performances alone but it also has some really great action scenes as well. This is a movie that you need to go see right now instead of going to see the piece of shit that is The House at the End of the Street. I know I'll be seeing this movie again when it comes out on Blu Ray because it will be a release day purchase for me.