2012, Movies

End of Watch (2012, David Ayer)

This is a found footage film mixed with a cop drama that is regularly ready to abandon its found-footage conceit – a good thing and a bad thing in these types of movies – and which appears to treat serving in the LA PD as serving in the military. (Gyllenhaal appears to be playing a variation of his Jarhead character.)

It’s certainly unconventional as these things go – at least as cop movies go – but it would be far more effective if it didn’t need some kind of stupid plot contrivance.

I don’t normally think too much about social context when I review films, but it’s hard to ignore it here. (I usually think about film context, though.) The United States moves closer and closer to a police state every date and here we have a film that, once it’s stupid plot contrivance kicks in, functions as a propaganda film for the police.

Regardless of the technique involved in making this movie, regardless of whatever genre innovation might exist here, regardless of the committed performances by every single actor in the film – though Gyllenhaal is, as I said, playing off an old role – this is a piece of propaganda and it is a piece of propaganda that is trying to tell you and I that we should honour and obey the police at a time when the police feel like they can do whatever the hell they want.


  • Directed by David Ayer
  • Produced by John Lesher, David Ayer, Nigel Sinclair, Matt Jackson
  • Written by David Ayer
  • Starring
    • Jake Gyllenhaal as Brian Taylor
    • Michael Peña as Miguel “Mike” Zavala
    • Maurice Compte as Santiago “Big Evil” Flores
    • Natalie Martinez as Gabby Zavala
    • Anna Kendrick as Janet Taylor
    • Flakiss as La La
    • Frank Grillo as Sergeant Daniels
    • America Ferrera as Officer Orozco
    • Cody Horn as Officer Davis
    • David Harbour as Van Hauser
    • Cle Sloan as Tre
    • David Fernandez Jr. as Spooky
    • Shondrella Avery as Bonita
    • Kristy Wu as Sook
  • Music by David Sardy
  • Cinematography by Roman Vasyanov
  • Edited by Dody Dorn
  • Production companies: StudioCanal, Exclusive Media, Crave Films, CECTV Films, Emmett/Furla Films
  • Distributed by Open Road Films
  • Release date: September 8, 201
  • Running time: 109 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Budget: $7-15 million
  • Box office: $57.6 million

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