I used to watch a bunch of random movies in the off-chance that I would find a diamond in the rough, something unknown that impressed me so much that I had to add it to my personal collection. Unfortunately, probably due to my years of experience being exposed to plotlines of all shapes and sizes, this doesn’t actually happen that much anymore. In Bruges a couple years ago is the last time that comes to mind. Nowadays I am just really happy if I can watch a random movie without expecting much and be surprised that the overall viewing experience is pretty good.
End of Watch is this movie. It’s nothing amazing but has scenes that can impress. It’s a cop movie, but it’s definitely not Just Another Cop Movie. Besides being filmed in a captured footage style, this movie does other things differently. The plot often focuses more on day to day minutia than on grand conspiracies or criminals. And it doesn’t get hung up on the Blair Witch camera thing by playing fast and loose with the footage source for the sake of having better camera shots. What results is a movie that ‘feels’ more authentic without the medium dragging the story down.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say this movie is realistic, but it is certainly a realist portrayal of life as a police officer compared to other Hollywood offerings. The two partners ride around the squad car making immature jokes and talking just as much shit that you would expect two mid-twenties guys to talk about. The interactions with the sergeant and captain ring true, and even the conversations and ribbing of fellow police officers feels authentic. This is definitely a movie that has done research into departmental behavior- what got me is seeing a cop carry anti-bacterial gel around. It’s no wonder that this movie is a true dedication to police officers the world over.
It’s great to see a new director do something different that has some actual meaning attached to it. The opening police chase should grab you and immediately let you know that you are in for a change of pace. End of Watch focuses on the procedure more than the drama. Every entry into a house brings the fear of the unknown and every resolution allows the audience to breathe a sigh of relief. The film may not be a true peek into the lives of police officers but the attempt at least is there. The rest is up to you to love or hate.