Film4: Sunday 26 July, 10.50pm
Dedicated LA police officers Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña patrol South Central’s mean streets in their cruiser, equipped with an in-your-face cop-camera, reality TV-show style. Director David Ayer also wrote Training Day, which was similarly afflicted with melodrama. Like Dennis Hopper’s Colors, its reliance on street slang and music makes End of Watch seem focus-group contrived compared to the authentic LA cop thrillers of James Ellroy, the great NYPD movies of Sidney Lumet, or the two 21st century Rampart Division thrillers, Dirty (with Cuba Gooding Jr) and Rampart (with Woody Harrelson). Ultimately, and all-too predictably, the worn-out tics of ‘found footage’ here are more suited to Candid Camera than to serious cinema. Even the ending’s a cheat. Shame, because the Rampart story’s worth telling. Move along, nothing new to see here.