e n d  o f  w a t c h

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Pena and Gyllenhaal head out on to the mean streets of LA and banter whilst sinking deeper in the mire....

broken shark is a little torn on End of Watch. 50% thinks it's amazing. The other 50% is actually writing this review.

It's not that we don't like David Ayer's gritty attempt to bring LA beat cop to the screen in a realistic fashion, it's just that we think he maybe tried a bit too hard to make this into a story.

End of Watch is at its best, and we do mean best, when it's merely following the partners around their neighbourhood beat. They banter with each other, swear a lot, deal with generally low level criminals and come across as very much the genuine article. Gyllenhaal's time spent with the actual police was time well spent as you never for a second doubt their relationship.

The wives and girlfriends are given pretty minor amounts of screen time but help to flesh out the partners' social lives as very much revolving around their commitment to their jobs. So far, so fantastic.

Then it all gets a bit formulaic. We don't want to go into spoiler territory but some of the incidents that lead up to the finale are frankly massive cliches or just cut and pastes from other buddy cop films. This really jars with the brilliant tone laid down by the central pairing. For a film wanting to portray realistic beat cops, it's just not plausible to have one have his radio shot out of his hand by a barrage of machine gun fire.

This leads to an ending that leaves the film as much less of a film than it should be. We enjoyed it thoroughly and as a standard buddy cop film it works perfectly. By its own aspirations though, it falls short.