Conflix Resolution is our updated blog of selections of what to watch on Netflix Instant Streaming.
After covering a film festival and attacking dozens of films before the years end to make my top 10, Conflix Resolution finally returns after a not-so-brief hiatus. For my triumphant return, I wanted to bring forward a movie that many readers (though in my opinion, not nearly enough) have probably seen, the 2012 cop movie “End of Watch.”
The premise of “End of Watch” is pretty simple since there is little plot. It’s essentially a “day in the life” look at two LAPD officers who eventually happen to stumble across some things that put them in severe danger. While that might sound simplistic, it is anything but.
There are a few things that stand out about “End of Watch.” First and foremost is the combination of Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña in the lead roles. I don’t mean to get hyperbolic, but these two have some of the best on screen chemistry I’ve seen in recent years. It feels like watching a couple of guys who have known each other for years. Guys who are best friends, and like brothers. A great decision in “End of Watch” is to feature a lot of scenes of Gyllenhaal and Pena doing “ride alongs” around the streets of LA. This allows their characters to get into in-depth conversation and best of all, crack wise. The two constantly rib each other, getting into topics like their love lives and race and evoking buddy cop comedy with some truly hilarious exchanges.
Another thing that stands out is just how raw the film is. The idea behind the film is that Gyllenhaal’s character is carrying around a handheld camera for a class project, which gives a “reason” to have the film to have the “found footage” quality that is seen more often in film today. What director David Ayer did that was smart was to augment the footage to some more conventional camera work to leave the film a little more open stylistically. What we have in this handheld footage is a certain visceral feeling that adds so much to the film. There’s graphic violence, disturbing imagery, and gunfights, which are all elevated by the intimacy of the camera work.
The first time I saw this film, I went in with little expectation and was pretty staggered when I left the theater. So much so that “End of Watch” was No. 7 on my Top 10 Films of 2012. It is an absolute clinic in tension. From the middle of the film on, there is a constant feeling that something really bad is about to happen. Hell, try watching some of the later scenes in the film without feeling the slightest bit of anxiety. With a post-theatrical life on home video release and Netflix instant, I really hope that “End of Watch” becomes the next cop classic.