Quite a few documentary style movies in recent years such as Project X and Chronicle, End of Watch is one of them.
A first person narrative with a cop making a film about his job. Writer-director David Ayers‘s fast-paced editing and shaky hand held camera took audience to witness the front-line police officers caught in a gang conflict in a hostile situation, between hot boiled shootout and street corpse in LA South Central.
The screen filled with real sense of Drama. A plot full of racial hatred in the community, a task that our hero has to deal with. Gyllenhaal and Pena have fantastic chemistry and have a terrific rapport, it creates the perfect environment for the film, Many characters are believably realistic and the Mexican drug cartel event creates a dark hellish atmosphere for the movie.
Gyllenhaal delivers an intense, hard-edged character, he manages to capture and hold the audience's attention right from the beginning of the film. Michael Pena played a very complicated character and this maybe his breakthrough from a supporting actor role and finally to become a lead actor in Hollywood.
No doubt, End of Watch is entertaining but if you look into it, You will find there is no story, only incident. That explains the “documentary style”, because once you use this kind of filming you don’t have to show much of the story because it is “real”. The audience should accept this is in fact the point of view as a “police”, therefore, they have to make you think like a police, right from the opening of the film, don’t think , just listen and watch -
” I am the police, and I'm here to arrest you. You've broken the law. I did not write the law. I may disagree with the law but I will enforce it. No matter how you plead, condole, beg or attempt to stir my sympathy. Nothing you do will stop me from placing you in a steel cage with gray bars. If you run away I will chase you. If you fight me I will fight back. If you shoot at me I will shoot back. By law I am unable to walk away. I am a consequence. I am the unpaid bill. I am fate with a badge and a gun. Behind my badge is a heart like yours. I bleed, I think, I love, and yes I can be killed. And although I am but one man, I have thousands of brothers and sisters who are the same as me. They will lay down their lives for me and I them. We stand watch together. The thin-blue-line, protecting the prey from the predators, the good from the bad. We are the police.”
Sounds familiar? The same kind of statement we heard over the years on the news, “if you not with us you are against us?” there are always both sides of story and I am sure LA South Central is a complex world, but we as a viewer have to understand that when we are watching this kind of movies, we are also receiving some kind of negative message toward certain images and ideas, we are being manipulated.
Sometimes it made me wonder if a policeman doesn’t agreed with the law and this law is to ask him to hurt people what should he do? More than half of the century ago there was a party in Europe had executed such law. Should the police follow such order? or make his own judgment?