Monday, 22 October 2012

LFF: End of Watch

Well, what a strong ending to the 56th LFF - with two five star films one after the other (and the two best that I saw from my eight film run). David Ayer, who has certainly cornered the gritty cop genre with Training Day, Harsh Times and S.W.A.T. is the writer/director behind End of Watch, arguably the best of the bunch. Using a handicam filming approach, his latest plays out like a stretched-out self-contained episode of The Shield, which certainly isn't a bad thing. Aside from the hyper-realism it creates, a jerky hand-held also acentuates the speed and velocity with which these South Central beat cops work, and as Jake Gyllenhaal's Taylor tells us, a cop working that beat can see more action in a day than other cops will see in a whole career. And boy he's not kidding. The film follows Taylor and Zavala (the ace Michael Pena) as they bring retribution to Mexican gangbangers, drug-slinging homeboys and the odd sociopath / psychopath along the way. It's not long before the Mexican Cartel operating in LA feel the thorn in their side, and our two heroes are green-lit for a kill-order. The action is relentless, as is the humour, but at no point does this stifle the plot or acting on show, which are both top-notch for the genre. The plot cleverly builds to an intense climax, and as we are invited ito the personal (out of uniform) lives of these two Los-Angeleans, there is a growing sense of dread that these worlds could come crashing down. 
Ayer smashes all the 'buddy cop' stereotypes, and we really feel that Talor and Zavala are indeed 'brothers' - so tightknit is their discourse. Only once have we seen such a realistic approach to cop partners, and that was Michael Mann's Miami Vice, but even then, it felt the banter was curtailed for the mood, whereas he it feels nothing short of organic all the way through. Ayer's movie has it all - humour, violence, tension - and the backbone of the film rests upon the two leads, who are nothing short of excellent at any point. * * * * * (5)

No comments:

Post a Comment