Steen: End of Watch gives an appreciation of police

"End of watch” holds a special meaning and it’s the sad reality that faces those on the Thin Blue Line.

For most of us, our knowledge about what ‘cops’ do is gleaned from a few badly acted, sanitized TV shows where, in the course of an hour, the bad guys are caught and everyone goes home.

For those in the know, the phrase “end of watch” holds a special meaning and it’s the sad reality that faces those on the Thin Blue Line on a daily basis.

This film, written and directed by David Ayer (of Training Day fame), has a plethora of stars.  Jake Gyllenhaal ( Brian Taylor), who was in Zodiac and Brokeback Mountain; Michael Pena (Mike Zavala), from The Lincoln Lawyer, and Million Dollar Baby; Anna Kendrick (Janet), of Twilight and Scott Pilgrim vs The World (just give this one a miss); America Ferrera (Orozco) who starred in Ugly Betty and was in The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants; and Frank Grillo (Sarge), of The Grey and Minority Report.

The acting was excellent all around.

Shot in ‘found footage’ style, it is grainy, jumpy and uncensored, with bad language, violence and disturbing scenes throughout.

The partners (Taylor and Zavala) have unwittingly made enemies of a drug cartel who aim to rule the mean streets of Los Angeles in 2011, and particularly dislike anyone who would stand in their way.

None of us who are not members of a police force will be able to fully comprehend how true to life this show is, but it sure looked real to me and it gives us much to think about.

We often take our police for granted, knowing that they’ll be there if and when we need them, we just never ask ourselves what price they pay for keeping us safe, and maybe we don’t want to know. But there is a price and in some small way, this show gives us a look at what that price might be.

End of Watch gives us a glimpse into that world and, frame by frame, we come to realize that the end will not be as we hope it will.

Don’t let that deter you from seeing it.

End of Watch forces us to look at the world of the really bad guys and thank our lucky stars that we live where we live and have the men and women in uniform watching our backs—we should celebrate them far more than we do.

There was laughter in this show, and a couple of funny lines were: “Just because I look like the dude from Home Depot doesn’t mean I do what the dudes at Home Depot do” and “Policing is all about comfortable shoes.”

This film is neither sanitized nor badly acted and you won’t soon forget it.

I give End of Watch four 1/2 reels.

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