End of Watch: Top-Notch Cop Thriller

Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña shine in David Ayer film

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 21, 2012 9:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – Critics are raving about End of Watch, starring an excellent Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña as good-guy cop buddies in Los Angeles. It's some of director David Ayer's best work since Training Day, which he wrote:

  • The "blood-drenched and unexpectedly moving film" is Ayer's "best cut yet on what life is like on that thin blue line," writes Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. It's "a visceral story of beat cops that is rare in its sensitivity, rash in its violence and raw in its humor," and the characters feel "barely an arm's length away."

  • "End of Watch is one thriller where the adrenaline rush, considerable as it is, is almost always put in the service of character. Happily, the character on display turns out to be considerable, too," writes Bob Mondello at NPR.
  • At Salon, Andrew O'Hehir calls the movie "mythic, thrilling and brilliantly made." It "goes beyond gritty and realistic violence into a zone where Hieronymus Bosch collides with Dante," he writes.
  • But at the Globe and Mail, Rick Groen has some reservations about the "sanctimonious" film. "Gyllenhaal and Peña make for believable buds and give the picture its breezy pace," he writes. "It’s the lionizing action that’s no sale."

This film image released by Open Road Films shows Michael Pena, left, and Jake Gyllenhaal in a scene from End of Watch.
This film image released by Open Road Films shows Michael Pena, left, and Jake Gyllenhaal in a scene from "End of Watch."   (AP Photo/Open Road Films, Scott Garfield)
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A trailer for the film.   (YouTube)

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