Cop drama right on target
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