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15° & RAINY ON TUESDAY 25 JUNE IN SYDNEY
By Tom Glasson
October 31, 2012
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End of Watch

This Jake Gyllenhaal buddy/cop drama features some of the best on-screen banter in years.
By Tom Glasson
October 31, 2012
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On-screen chemistry is just one of those things that either happens or it doesn't. Directors and producers crave it and pray for it, just as they know they can neither control it nor create it. It's not a question of acting ability or great writing or even casting; it's just luck. Plain old luck. Will your actors get along well in real life, and will that chemistry translate onto the screen?

Thankfully for director David Ayer (Training Day) and his new film, End of Watch, the rapport between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña is so remarkable, it takes a good movie and turns it into something great.

The two play a pair of brash young LA cops whose daily routine is rocked by the discovery of a major Mexican drug cartel operating right within their own neighbourhood. For the two actors, playing police officers made the task of achieving a believable relationship even more important, since it's successful partnerships that can often prove the difference between life and death out on patrol.

Before filming began, Gyllenhaal and Peña actually spent five months driving around with and observing the LAPD in order to supplement their own natural chemistry with every tiny mannerism, expression and act of non-verbal communication they could capture. The results speak for themselves. Their chemistry makes this movie, serving up equal doses of laughter, tenderness, and unbearable tension.

Presented through the entirely unnecessary device of 'found footage', it's a consistently violent story; however, the action is never without merit. Much like Training Day, the stakes are higher because the film and characters feel real, which ultimately makes End of Watch something of an exhausting experience to sit through. That's no criticism, however, and Ayer's smart script and direction deserve credit for deftly drawing you into the gritty and unpredictable world of law enforcement, right alongside those who occupy it, suffer by it, and sometimes even die for it.

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