“End of Watch” is the opposite of most movies featuring the Los Angeles Police Department at work, as it portrays LAPD police officers not as crooks or corrupt or racist or terrible, but instead as normal people just trying to do their job, a job which happens to be very dangerous and rather underappreciated.
“What makes “End of Watch” work isn’t the found footage approach or the camera style, but instead it’s the strength of the main characters and how well Gyllenhaal and Peña get along and work together. The characters of Taylor and Zavala are very well developed and most importantly we get a sense of their family lives and what they personally have at stake every day when they go to work. If something terrible happens to them on the job, it just doesn’t effect them, but it also effects their loved ones, their girlfriends and wives and children, and this really raises the stakes of the drama in the movie as these guys find themselves in increasingly dangerous situations.
“End of Watch” actually gets pretty heavy, both philosophically and story wise, and this is because of how well the characters are portrayed. Emotional investment in Taylor and Zavala and their personal lives has us rooting them on, hoping that they can get through this violent tunnel that they chose to go through, blasting their way out, praying that they will be able to see their families one more time, because even those they are in uniforms and wear badges and work for the law, these are still people, and that’s the whole point of this movie.”