Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register now to see X-Men: First Class!
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Jake Gylleenhaal
Michael Pena
Anna Kendrick
America Ferrera.
David Ayers.
David Ayer.
Running Time
109 minutes

You & Me Forever
4 Star Empire Rating
An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker
4 Star Empire Rating
3 Star Empire Rating
Looking For Light: Jane Bown
3 Star Empire Rating
4 Star Empire Rating

Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating
Stranger By The Lake
5 Star Empire Rating
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
5 Star Empire Rating

End Of Watch
Police! Camera! Action!

submit to reddit

Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Peña) are a pair of LA cops whose days routinely consist of breaking up fights and dealing with gang members. But they get in over their heads when they accidentally discover something that could destroy a violent drugs cartel and refuse to leave it alone.

End Of Watch
Browse more images »
There are small stumbles — stylistic inconsistencies, underwritten characters — that keep End Of Watch from being the great cop movie you can feel is somewhere in there, but what David Ayer’s drugs and guns drama has in compensatory abundance is atmosphere and a story that, though an assemblage of countless movies past, is at least an assemblage of the best bits. It’s the proven set-up of sarcastic buddy cops who stumble onto a case above their pay grade, uncovering a huge drug operation on their beat. Officer Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a mouthy show-off who is as likely to be playing pranks as making arrests, while Officer Zavala (Michael Peña) is the committed family man who shares his partner’s humour but would rather his mind were more on the job. The chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Peña is top notch, their obvious camaraderie smoothing out their brasher personality traits. There’s as much entertainment in their trading of insults in a car as there is watching them chase down gun-waving criminals.

Ayer directs this like a reality TV cop show with higher stakes, the camera running around the action, nosing into grubby corners and getting in everyone’s face. It’s controlled chaos, frenetic, but never confusing. He also makes use of footage shot by Taylor for a sketchy, and presumably illegal, documentary project. Initially it seems that we’re going to watch the whole thing through Taylor’s camera, but Ayer gives it up whenever a scene requires a wider view or when self-shooting makes no sense. The bad guys are horribly written, possessing a vocabulary that doesn’t extend much beyond angry swearing and imbued with the depth and psychology of a Grand Theft Auto sub-villain. Yet it doesn’t detract particularly from the experience. The world of Taylor and Zavala is sufficiently involving that their survival is investment enough. You might not be able to make much sense of their foe, but you still don’t want it to shoot them.

It’s a collection of cop-movie clichés but presented with sufficient flair and strong performances that the ride is enough, even if it’s on rails.

Reviewed by Olly Richards

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for End Of Watch
Empire Star Rating

RE: Very good :)

End of Watch Remember the old US TV cop show 'Chips'? well never mind cos this ain't nothing like that lol!. From the films poster you can tell this is a badass cops, drugs and guns drama which will no doubt have lots of profanity and gangbangin involved. Profanity you say? check!, holy assburgers there is tonnes of it, a possible record breaker here folks. Aside from that the film is actually pretty good and did keep me interested throughout. The plot is basically about the lives of ... More

Posted by Phubbs at 04:19, 11 December 2012 | Report This Post

Very good :)

Powerful stuff in there, worth watching if you're up to it. Not perfect but well worth a go, good performances all round and well-written even if it does hit a lot of clichés. 8.5/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jackstarr at 14:55, 08 December 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Docking a star for ending

Seeing this tonight.... is Found footage / ShakyCam is worst thing in todays cinema? I'm thinking so ... More

Posted by dolfinack at 17:43, 27 November 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Southland

L: skippy82 It's not as good as an episode of Southland. bsolutely agreed - my main thought throughout the film. I also found the switch from the found-footage filming to shaky-cam filming annoying. Clearly it started out as found-footage (not a complaint) but then they got a little bored of that when filming. Good acting all round and two very enjoyable leads bickering constantly, just not as good as Southland which has really nailed the genre. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by RobotDevil at 16:49, 26 November 2012 | Report This Post


LIGHT SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't agree with others criticism (including Empire's) over the villans here. They only need to serve several key scenes, and come across as truely bad people. On that front, they completely succeed. No redeeming qualities or backstory necessary. They aren't underwritten, as they function simply to carry the plot along in it's last act. The film is ultimately about the two leads, and getting a fee... More

Posted by film man aidy at 08:56, 22 November 2012 | Report This Post

Empire 300th Issue: The Directors' Cut Cover
Spielberg, Whedon, Fincher, Abrams Mann and more take over

Fired! Losing Your Job In The Movies
The lowdown on getting dismissed on film

20 Not So Super '-Men' That Won't Star In A Film Any Time Soon
Forget your Batmen, your Spider-Men and your Ant-Men… Meet 3-D Man (and his pals)

The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Ten Things To Know About The Spooks Movie
Under the hood of The Greater Good

14 YouTube Videos Every Game Of Thrones Fan Should Have Watched By Now
From goats singing the theme tune to every death in under three minutes

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)