TIFF Movie Review: ‘End of Watch’

Photo Credit: Open Road Films

End of Watch
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez, Frank Grillo, Cody Horn, America Ferrera

Written & directed by: David Ayers

Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, ‘End of Watch’ follows two young LAPD officers assigned the streets of South Central LA. Officer Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Officer Zavala (Michael Peña) do the usual routine investigations and street patrols. However, after recovering a cache of weapons and money and later uncovering safe houses belonging to a Mexican drug cartel, they quickly become marked targets.

‘End of Watch’ is well written and paced, Gyllenhaal and Peña have amazing on-screen chemistry and are perfectly suited in their roles. Though many of the scenes in the movie are shot through Taylor’s hand-held camera, I felt they allowed the audience to experience the realness and a grittiness from the characters’ point of view. A simple wide-angle shot would not have been able to achieve the same effect.

I attended the screening of ‘End of Watch’ at TIFF on Sunday afternoon. Following the film, Ayers did a Q&A session with the audience. He talked about the training involved to prepare the actors for their roles as well as the casting of Gyllenhaal and Peña. He mentioned that the two actors did not initially hit things off. It wasn’t until they did a trust exercise as part of their training regime that they began to develop chemistry. He also talked about using handheld video cameras shots in the film as well as consulting with a 14-year LAPD veteran who helped developed some of the situations faced by the two officers in the film.

‘End of Watch’ is set to open for wide release on September 21.

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