Wednesday, November 07, 2012

David Ayer: End of Watch

Earlier today I saw David Ayer's new film End of Watch. It covers the same ground as Ayer's previous films Training Day and Dark Blue, which he only scripted. There are also some of the same directorial stylistics as in those two films, especially Training Day, which, in retrospect, might seem to be more Ayer's than its director's, Antoine Fuqua's film. Neither of the two films are entirely successful (see my short reviews here) and the same goes for End of Watch.

It's almost entirely shot through recordings made by Jake Gyllenhaal's character, Brian Taylor, an obnoxious and adventurous cop who acts a bit macho. He keeps a video cam with him all the time and adjusts two tiny recorders on him and his partner's shirtpockets. There are also some surveillance camera shots and other similar stuff. But the film's fault is that the use of these devices is not fully consistent. The same problem lies within the script as well. There are some unmotivated characters, who are not as well developed as they should be. And the final meaning of the film - what Ayer is trying to say - remains unclear. There are some hints that Ayer means to say the war on drugs is futile, but I should say Oliver Stone (and of course Don Winslow) cover that ground much better in his Savages. There are some scenes that are shared by both Ayer and Stone, but whereas Stone veers towards crazy drug fantasy, Ayer tries to remain on the realistic side. Most of the time, he succeeds and there are some very intense moments throughout the film.

The Finnish title of the film is pretty bland: Poliisit, which means simply "Cops". I paste here a comment made by my friend Sami on Facebook and try to provide a translation: "Heh, tai sitten [nimenä voisi olla] "Kyttäkaksikko tappolistalla"... maahantuojan itse keksimänä mainoslauseena "HUUMEGANGSTERIEN varpaille astuminen käynnisti VERIRALLIN!" Ja ikärajana tietenkin komeasti K-18 ("Vellihousut, pysykää kotona!")" ("Yeah, and the new title could be "The Cop Duo On the Kill List"... with the blurb "Stepping on DRUG LORDS' toes started A BLOODPATH! It should have to be X-rated, with another blurb: "If you're chicken, stay home!" Or some such nonsense.)

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