From David Ayer, the writer of “Training Day,” comes the latest action packed police drama “End of Watch,” a story of two police officers that, while patrolling the most dangerous streets in South Central, Los Angeles, have formed a powerful brotherhood, a bond that makes them a unit in the face of danger, and at the end of the day their mission is to serve and protect, not only the streets, but most importantly, each other.
“End of Watch,” shot from various first person perspectives, takes us to the center of the action, through footage of handheld cameras, giving us different points of view from police officers, gang members, surveillance cameras and dash cams on the patrols.
“Nobody had really shown what it’s like [to be a cop, what the real job is like. I just wanted to show the people behind the badge and do it in a way that was pretty much unsentimental, just real,” said Ayer in a recent press conference.
Ayer engages the audience, as well as the actors, by using a consumer camera operated by Officer Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal). “Not only am I working with the actors and getting performances from them, but now they’re my visual collaborators,” he said. Another important element for the director is the location, which is treated like another character in the movie, injecting as much of the Hispanic culture that dominates the area, to keep it as real as possible.
Lead by Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, and featuring Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera, Cody Horn, Natalie Martinez, and Frank Grillo, the cast has so much chemistry and charisma that it’s hard to believe that from such an intense script, comedy is actually present. “What was really hard to do, which I’m really proud of, is what we did. Make comedy out of life,” said Peña.
It seems that the bond between Gyllenhaal and Peña fueled a brotherhood, which is also one of the main themes throughout this film, and a mutual admiration for each other’s craft. “From the very beginning that I worked with him in the audition, when I auditioned with him, he was it. There is no doubt that this man [Peña is one of the most talented actors around. He’s amazing,” Gyllenhaal said.
After spending time in the neighborhood, while shooting this film, Gyllenhaal says there are two things he will take away from the Hispanic culture, “the sense of loyalty and the sense of family.” When asked, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of falling in love with a Hispanic woman.
“End of Watch” is raw and realistic, with an ‘in your face’ perspective. It’s so intense, and at times funny, an emotional roller coaster. Buckle up, you’re in for a ride, in what Peña calls a “brotherhood fighting against brotherhood” movie.