End of Watch focuses on the working lives of two cops. The handheld format gives the story a more realistic look as they deal with the demands of their job – criminals, co-workers, work-life balance and even paperwork. The plot is unpredictable and the characters are convincing. When the leads stumble onto something big, it feels natural instead of a staged modern spaghetti western in suburbia.
The movie is kept grounded by its characters – two aggressive hotshots, a bitter cop, two hardened female police officers, an ill-fated rookie and a seasoned sergeant trying to keep his unit in order. They’re brought to life by solid performances from the lead and supporting cast.
However, the movie suffers from inconsistent camerawork that renders its gritty theme fraudulent. Unless there are hidden cameras all over LA, the duo’s guns, and Zavala’s apartment, the movie breaks its own attempt at realism.
The bad guys love the camera too as they carry one of their own, complete with a night vision feature. Speaking of bad guys, they’re exaggerated. The melodramatic climax, a staple among typical cop flicks, makes an appearance. It doesn’t look forced though when you’re caught up in the moment of the film.
End of Watch reinforces the importance of family and the sacrifices made by cops like every other cop movie but makes an impact. It’s action, sense of humor, and strong characters make its flaws forgivable.