Saturday, November 10, 2012

End of Watch

Poliisit / End of Watch [Swedish title on the Kino City website]. US © 2012 Sole Productions LLC / Hedge Fund Film Partners. P: David Ayer, Matt Jackson, John Lesher. D+SC: David Ayer. DP: Roman Vasyanov - Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon Lenses, Canon EOS 7D, Canon Lenses, Canon XA-10, GoPro HD Hero, Silicon Imaging SI-2K 'Nano', Zeiss Ultra Prime Lenses, Silicon Imaging SI-2K Mini, Zeiss Ultra Prime Lenses - Laboratory: DeLuxe, Hollywood (CA), USA, EFILM Digital Laboratories, Hollywood (CA), USA (digital intermediate) - Source format: CineForm RAW, Video (HD) - Cinematographic process: AVCHD (1080p/24) (source format), CineForm RAW (2K) (source format), Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format) - Printed film format: 35 mm (spherical) (Kodak Vision 2383), D-Cinema - Aspect ratio: 1.85:1. PD: Devorah Herbert. AD: Kevin Constant. Set dec: Betty Berberian. Cost: Mary Claire Hannan. Makeup: Tina Roesler Kerwin. Prosthetic makeup: Clinton Wayne. SFX: Kevin Hannigan. VFX: LOOK Effects - Adam Avitabile. M: David Sardy. The song list would be worth copying but it is not included in the production information, and on IMDb there are just a couple of songs listed. S: Michael D. Wilhoit. ED: Dody Dorn. Technical advisor: Jaime FitzSimons. Casting: Lindsay Graham, Mary Vernieu. C: Jake Gyllenhaal (Brian Taylor), Michael Peña (Mike Zavala), Natalie Martinez (Gabby), Anna Kendrick (Janet), David Harbour (Van Hauser), Frank Grillo (Sarge), America Ferrera (Orozco), Cle Shaheed Sloan (Mr. Tre), Jaime FitzSimmons (Captain Reese), Cody Horn (Davis), Shondrella Avery (Bonita), Everton Lawrence (Man Friend), Leequwid "Devil" Wilkens (CK), James "Pistol" McNeal (DJ), Zone (Too Tall), Alvin Norman (Peanut), Richard Cabral (Demon), Diamonique (Wicked), Maurice Compte (Big Eveil), Yahira Garcia (La La). Loc: Los Angeles, CA - South Central LA - around the Newton Police Station. Thanks: LAPD. In English and Spanish; English subtitles for Spanish dialogue. 108 min. Released by Nordisk Film. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 11, Helsinki, 10 Nov 2012 (no Finnish or Swedish subtitles in this screening due to technical problems).

Official synopsis from the production notes: "In their mission to abide by their oath to serve and protect, Officer Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Officer Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) have formed a powerful brotherhood to ensure they both go home at the END OF WATCH. The only guarantee for these officers is that there are no guarantees when patrolling the streets of South Central, Los Angeles."

"Between the blue lights, blaring sirens and adrenaline pumping action thrives an honest and often humorous banter between partners who spend most of their days in a police car awaiting the next call. The officers have formed a bond that allows them to function as a unit in the face of danger, knowing full well, at any moment, they could be called on to lay down their lives."

"The vivid action unfolds entirely through footage of handheld cameras shot from the point of view of police officers, gang members, surveillance cameras, dash cams, and citizens caught in the line of fire. This 360° perspective creates a riveting and immediate portrait of the city’s darkest, most violent streets and back alleys, and the brave men and women patrolling them."

"Writer/Director/Producer David Ayer (TRAINING DAY) was driven to get the story of Los Angeles cops “right,” and open a window into a rarely seen world of law enforcement for all its truth, grit and compassion. Produced by John Lesher, Nigel Sinclair and Matt Jackson, with a cast headed by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, and featuring Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera, Cody Horn, Natalie Martinez, and Frank Grillo, END OF WATCH is a powerful story of family, friendship, love, honor and courage." (official synopsis)

A cop movie based on first hand experience of the reality in South Central Los Angeles. A story of camaraderie between the two cops, one of them a paleface and one of them with Mexican-Spanish-Catholic background. Mike is newly married, Brian's wedding is included in the movie, wives get pregnant, and Mike's baby is born.

The backstory is the invasion of Mexican drug cartels into Los Angeles, the city becoming a battleground for drug warfare with the involvement of big drug capital.

At first the young cops seem too clownish, too eager, too arrogant, too full of themselves, but they keep learning.

David Ayer has said that he strived after an YouTube impact - even the gangsters now record everything with tiny cameras. Everything was covered with four cameras, some of them tiny ones attached to the lapels of the cops. In the beginning the action sequences make no sense with the relentless handheld approach and disorientation. But the tragic conclusion where the two cops meet the military might of the drug cartel has an expression that is loud and clear. There is a powerful feeling in the final funeral sequence followed by an aerial shot of Los Angeles and a flashback to the last day of the partners together.

Intentionally low visual quality. Handheld camera has been a popular device in the cinema particularly since the 1950s. Low definition video look has been used in theatrical movies since the 1960s and especially since the 1990s. I'd prefer to confront such a visual quality in special sequences only, but watching it during an entire feature movie in a cinema can feel a bit irritating.

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