End of Watch arrives on Blu-ray this Tuesday, thanks to Universal Home Entertainment. David Ayer wrote and directed one of the most realistic police dramas that I have seen. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera, Frank Grillo, and Natalie Martinez. Watching it again on Blu-ray has reminded me of how powerful the performances are. Those, coupled with the fantastic script and tight action sequences, make End of Watch a great addition to your Blu-ray collection.
The film follows two young officers Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Pena) during their daily patrols of South Central, one of the most crime populated sections of Los Angeles. Taylor and Zavala are both gung-ho young officers who go above and beyond the call of duty and use their knowledge of the streets to do some low level detective work. This pays off for their professional career, but gains the attention from a drug cartel after they interrupt the cartel's trafficking with their police work. As a result, Taylor and Zevala are marked for death.
Ayer uses cameras from multiple locations, which has become more and more popular on screen. Recently Chronicle used a mix of handheld video camera as well as cell phones from characters in the film to bring the film together. End of Watch employs the same concept with Taylor shooting a lot of it from his handheld camera, however most of the film is shot from cameras placed inside and outside of their police cruiser. As a result, the camera movements are very shaky and the shots are extremely close on the characters. If you get motion sickness easily, End of Watch may cause you issues. I personally enjoyed this style of filming, but many may not find it appealing.
Every member of the cast turned in a fantastic performance, especially Gyllenhaal and Pena. Their connection on screen as partners is highly believable. The dialogue between the two of them when they are on patrol is very funny. I liked Anna Kendrick as Taylor's girlfriend, who turns into his wife. It's cool to see the progression of their relationship during the film. Natalie Martinez is equally good as Zavala's wife. Grillo and Ferrera both turn in solid supporting performances as well.
The sound and picture quality on this Blu-ray is solid. I liked seeing the film in theaters, but watching it in my home theater was equally enjoyable. One of the big issues with the sound quality is the background noises picked up by the cameras used for filming. This can either be viewed as distracting or adding to the tone of the film. The same is true for the 1080p video, as there are moments when the colors are impacted by the use of the natural lighting.
- Audio Commentary: Writer/director David Ayer takes us through scene-by-scene Writer/director and gives us insight into how realistic the film is, as well as the switches between the police and the cartel.
- Deleted Scenes: There are a total of 18 deleted scenes and alternate takes that make this segment worth watching.
- Featurettes: These are your obligatory featurette collection with the same old cast and crew interviews you get with each film.
- My Scenes Bookmarking
End of Watch hits shelves on January 22!