Cop drama right on tar­get

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

DAVID Ayer, the di­rec­tor of End of Watch, wrote the ex­cel­lent crime drama Train­ing Day. He knows the mean­est streets of Los An­ge­les like the back of his hand.

True to form, Ayer’s punchy new work rains down a hail of blows upon the viewer.

Not just with unapolo­getic ag­gres­sion but a wel­come and ab­so­lutely riv­et­ing au­then­tic­ity.

The open­ing act of End of Watch , shot al­most en­tirely on any­thing with a lens that is not a movie cam­era, is pretty much a mock doco about the lives of cops pa­trolling the bad­dest bar­rios in South Cen­tral LA.

Two young LAPD of­fi­cers are to the fore in much of what we see: the car chases, the do­mes­tic dis­tur­bances, the ar­rests of crim­i­nal sus­pects. Brian Tay­lor ( Jake Gyl­len­haal, pic­tured) and Mike Zavala ( Michael Pena) may not al­ways do things by the book, but they are al­ways on the same page.

More im­por­tantly, whether it’s run­ning into a burn­ing build­ing or run­ning a check on a dodgy driver, they al­ways do the right thing.

The film shows its true colours ( and the ten­sion es­ca­lates in kind) when Brian and Mike find them­selves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not once, but twice.

There is a link be­tween a pick- up truck full of drugs they have in­ter­cepted and a house they en­ter where Mex­i­can im­mi­grants are be­ing held against their will.

‘‘ You just tugged on the tail of a snake,’’ warns a fed­eral of­fi­cer, hint­ing to Mike and Brian they should have looked the other way. ‘‘ It’s go­ing to turn around and bite you back.’’

While graph­i­cally vi­o­lent and not above the odd cynical cliche, End of Watch still earns the re­spect, at­ten­tion and in­deed, worry of its au­di­ence by ground­ing its story in the most nat­u­ral terms pos­si­ble.

The cast­ing of Gyl­len­haal and Pena as the leads is a mas­ter­stroke in this re­gard, as they work hard to suc­cess­fully hu­man­ise their char­ac­ters beyond the usual stan­dard ex­pected in a pic­ture like this.

The un­forced chem­istry be­tween the pair, just as at home riff­ing with each other as they are rough­ing up bad hom­bres, draws you deep in­side End of Watch.

By the time a truly ter­ri­fy­ing cli­max ar­rives, there is no way out, and no choice but to hang tight with Mike and Brian as they hang on for dear life. DON’T go tag­ging Bach­e­lorette as a cheap and nasty knock- off of the smash hit com­edy Brides­maids. Sure, it’s all about some ma­jor stum­bles in the run- up to a ma­jor wed­ding, and yes, the hu­mour goes in and out of the don’tgo- there zone as it pleases. Nev­er­the­less, Bach­e­lorette is dif­fer­ent enough and, dare I say it, dam­aged enough to war­rant a look- see. The film’s comedic sen­si­bil­ity is much darker, dirt­ier and de­based than Brides­maids, and of­ten, just as funny. Kirsten Dunst spear­heads a snitchy bridal en­tourage who threaten to ruin their friend’s big day with their even- big­ger night out be­fore. Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas THIS dinky, low- bud­get Amer­i­can in­die film needs you to be on the same wave­length to pick up the right sig­nals sent. The plot ex­udes a kooky con­fi­dence that al­lows the film to glide over many a flat spot. An ec­cen­tric loner ( Mark Du­plass) has ad­ver­tised for a trav­el­ling part­ner for his time ma­chine, and an un­der­cover magazine intern ( Aubrey Plaza) vol­un­teers for the ride. It’s one of those nice­ly­made ef­forts where ev­ery lit­tle el­e­ment sits per­fectly in place, but the di­rec­tor is too ten­ta­tive to shift those el­e­ments around too much. So they just sit there. And so, the choice is yours: en­joy the still­ness, or move on. Now show­ing State Cinema

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