In the streets of gang infested L.A., two cops, played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, have a hit ordered on them after they make several drug busts that anger a Mexican drug lord.   Surprisingly, this is not the main storyline of “End of Watch.”  This movie is really about the close friendship of the two police officers, and what their lives are like both on and off duty.  Sounds boring?  Oh, no.  This is a fast paced drama/suspense/thriller that grabs hold of your attention from minute 1.

Most of the movie is shot like a documentary, with some of the footage coming from a mini-camera attached to Gyllenhaal’s and Pena’s uniforms, plus one camcorder.  You see, Gyllenhaal’s character is making a documentary about his job as a police officer for his class at school.  This adds energy to most of the shots, and adds to the suspense when you see the point of views of the cops as they do room searches in a house.   The problem with using these shots though is that the director sometimes uses too much of the headache-inducing footage of the “documentary” cameras when they are being carried at odd angles.   But this is easily forgiven as the benefits more than outweigh the problems.  If director David Ayer wanted us to feel as if we were in a ride-along with Gyllenhaal and Pena, then he succeeded; and this movie is one hell of a ride.

The most effective aspect of “End of Watch” in regard to what draws the audience in is the relationship between Gyllenhaal and Pena: partners in the police force, best friends, and both look out for each other no matter how dangerous the situation gets.  Add to that the great chemistry between the two actors, and the likeability of the characters (these are guys I can see myself being close friends with), and it’s easy to get caught up in every minute of this movie, hoping that things work out for these guys at the end.

My most memorable, movie moment of “End of Watch” is the scene during Gyllenhaal’s wedding, when Pena tells Gyllenhaal that if something were to happen to Gyllenhaal, Pena would take care of Gyllenhaal’s family.   Great friendships played out in movies by talented actors and directors and screenwriters always command attention, and this movie is no exception.