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Engaging, it grows on you

Engaging, it grows on you
End of Watch is a far cry from the slick crime dramas that plonked themselves firmly in prime-time television. Instead, shot in documentary style with handheld cameras, the film narrates the trials and tribulations of two Los Angeles Police Department patrol officers, who happen to be good friends as well, as they go about their everyday business. Perhaps it’s the way it was told – the confrontations are not choreographed, the lead actors do not get to breeze through fight sequences, cool as cucumbers: their tension and fear are palpable and very human. So even if we are not fans of crime thrillers, the characters grow on us. We end up watching indulgently as they chatter incessantly while patrolling the streets. We are also given peaks into the personal lives of two cops, making us realise that the bond between the characters is much more than professional bonhomie. Towards the end, when we realise that they are walking into a trap, we keep our fingers crossed for their lives.

Jake Gyllenhaal is the broody Brian Taylor, who takes his job seriously and wants to make it as a detective one day. His partner, Miguel Zavvala, played by Michael Peña, is more playful and more clued into reality. But Taylor charms him into venturing into places dangerous, despite being warned by the homicide department of possible cartel involvement. Taylor’s gut instincts more than once leads them bang on to something criminal. And the duo, as a result, tread on the short-on-fuse latino cartel operating in the area. What follows next stays in tune with the rhythm established by the film so far. We are spared bang-bang heroism.

The director takes his time in establishing the characters, milks the natural charm of both the lead, and creates a film far more engaging than the slick television crime drama.
Jemima Raman

Jemima Raman

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