On the eve of what is meant to be Jake Gyllenhaal taking his acting talents to that criminal side with Ambulance, he once played a cop in another film. The excitable and extremely depressing film known as End of Watch is currently top 10 on the Paramount+ charts. End of Watch saw Gyllenhaal teaming up with Michael Pena to show the horrors of what it’s like for officers on the beat. The film was shot in a documentary style which showed the men taking on some of the most violent forces on the streets.
End of Watch came out in 2012 and was directed and written by David Ayer. Ayer is known for writing police procedure type of films. He famously wrote Training Day, S.W.A.T., and Sabotage. Though his style is known, End of Watch was the first film that focused more on the partner aspect of police films. The film was more of a study on how the straining life of an LAPD officer’s job might affect those around them. Jake Gyllenhaal and Pena both played well off one another, and the film surely showed some of the most horrifying moments that cops can go through. The idea behind the ethical side of police work is something that Ayer wanted to portray more in this film than the other renegade or rogue police officers he often wrote into his previous films.
End of Watch follows the lives of officers Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala, who are partners in South Central LA. Taylor is a veteran of the Marine Corps. Most of their work is routine nature until they begin to uncover some dark truths about the Sinaloa gang while executing a routine traffic stop of one of the Curbside Gangs. The officers find break up a human trafficking ring that was brought on by the gang. ICE agents intervene and tell the officers to steer clear of this case otherwise there might be some reprisals brought on by the gang members. Taylor and Zavala end up being “green-lit” by the gangs in the area, which means they are going to be hunted and killed by those who seek retribution for the officers interfering with their business. Without revealing too much of the film and the ending, things get much more depressing in nature, and the film shows the dark side of what it means to be an ethical cop who tries to do the right thing. Both Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena were lauded for their performances in this film.
End of Watch currently has an 85% “certified fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an almost equal 86% audience rating. The film was widely accepted by both critics and audiences, mostly for Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena’s characters being the focal point of the story. It’s not often that action-based police films are focusing on the relationships that are cultivated from partnerships in some type of police force. There is usually the good guy vs bad guy aspect going on, and not so much about how the day-to-day violence could bring even the best of cops down. The rest of the cast includes David Harbour, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera, Natalie Martinez, and Frank Grillo. All of which helped to elevate this police story into something far better than its predecessors. While it was not heavily nominated for some of the best awards, the National Board of Review gave the film a Top Ten Independent Award win. On a budget of $7 million, the film hauled in over $57 million in worldwide box office numbers. That’s not bad for a more independent known venture.
End of Watch is currently streaming on Paramount+ and is arguably one of the best performances by Jake Gyllenhaal. This film was the precursor for the man engaging in tons of would-be award-winning roles. Films like Nightcrawler, Prisoners, and Southpaw followed End of Watch and showed why Gyllenhaal is regarded as one of the best actors in the game. Anyone who wishes to see this more graphic take on policing can watch the film on the Paramount+ streaming platform. It will not be a shock to see why it is currently in the top 10. But be warned, this film is certainly not for the faint of heart.