Film / End of Watch

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End of Watch is a late summer 2012 release, directed by David Ayer and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña.

Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Mike "Z" Zavala (Peña) are two LAPD police officers of Unit 13, their district handling the infamous crime ridden South Central Los Angeles. The film follows the two both on the job and in their private lives. Things turn sour when the two unknowingly start sticking their noses into the Mexican Drug Cartel activities that eventually puts a hit on their head when they discover something they shouldn't have.

The film is shot mostly with a video look to it, including many shots that are, In-Universe, taken by handheld camcorder's, squad car cameras or the officers lapel cams.

Tropes:

  • 13 Is Unlucky: Both Taylor and Z are police officers of Unit 13 and the latter is killed by the Drug cartel while the latter suffers injuries that will most likely have him retire from the force.
  • Abusive Parents: Shown when Taylor and Z get a call about "missing children" - a worried mother is freaking out about her missing children, while her partner is pretending to be asleep on the couch and consistently tells her to say they're at her grandmother's place. Z and Taylor find them duct-taped in the closet, because the father couldn't stand their crying.
  • Action Dad: Downplayed in both cases. Z mentions his wife being pregnant early in the movie and she gives birth sometime later. Taylor also mentions his wife being pregnant. Both men are active police officers, but in the end, Z dies and it's heavily implied that Taylor retires from being a police officer.
  • Ambiguous Situation: More like "Ambiguous Past Relationship". When La La starts hitting on Orozzco, the latter becomes very, very hostile and vehemently insists she wouldn't touch La La if she was the last woman on Earth, and the two appear to be familiar with each other.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Z's wife and Taylor's lady-friend both have a turn yelling at their respective significant others sometime after the house fire. While they displayed great bravery, Z and Taylor did charge inside a burning house when neither of them were trained for that job and could have died in there. Z's wife was especially worried, because she's pregnant at the time.
  • Anyone Can Die: Zavala.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: When the Sergeant arrives with Davis and Orozco to respond to Z and Taylor's call for backup, a snarky quip from La La prompts him to shout, "FUCK YOU!" before emptying his magazine into Big Evil's crew.
  • Babies Ever After: Downplayed in both cases. For Z, his wife, Gabby, was mentioned being pregnant and gives birth at some point. As for Taylor, he reveals Janet is pregnant, but the baby isn't seen born.
  • Bald of Awesome:
  • Big Bad: Appropriately named "Big Evil."
  • Bittersweet Ending: Big Evil and his gang won't be reppin' the Cartels anymore, or shooting up the neighborhoods, not with several hundred bullets sent through their chests. But during Taylor and Z's ambush, Z dies, while Taylor is left a broken man with grief and broken bones that will most likely force him off the force, like Van Hauser.
  • Bling Bling BANG: One of the cartel runners carried a chromed and gold plated, diamond encrusted M1911 and a gold plated AKM.
    "Check it out: Liberace's AK!"
  • Camera Abuse: The camera generally gets shaken about, but the big one comes when Taylor gets shot through the camera in the ending.
  • Cassandra Truth: A gangbanger that Z had fought before warns the pair that there's a hit out on them. They immediately dismiss it.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Happens a few times. Most notably at the end where Brian and Z have already been shot. Z doesn't survive.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The format of the movie. Scenes switch back and forth between the hard life of an LAPD officer in a crime ridden area to joking conversations between Taylor and Z. It eventually culminates to a really hard Mood Whiplash.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Sureño gang uses a silver MPV in a drive-by shooting at the beginning of the film. When its torched wreck is discovered, Taylor suspects it's been used in a shooting and explains why gangs prefer to use these as they do not attract attention and can carry a lot of people (and guns). When another one appears behind the patrol car after a hit is placed on Z on Taylor, you know something bad is about to happen.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The black guy Z has a brawl with earlier later informs the two that The Cartel put a hit on them.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: When going through some of his thing after their first night together, Janet notices a picture on of his past flings, and promptly said he won't be needing it anymore.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: There's a whole lot of swearing, but the Curbside Crew drop obscenities between every word.
  • Covers Always Lie: No, that AK is never used by either of them.
  • Da Chief: Taylor looks up to him and he has no issues with the main characters. The pair's sergeant occasionally barks at them, however.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After trading insults with a suspect, Zavala agrees to fight him. Zavala's victory, combined with his decision to only arrest the suspect on the original charge of disorderly conduct (as opposed to assault on a police officer) wins the gangbanger's grudging respect. He is later shown speaking well of Zavala, and eventually warns the protagonists of the hit that was placed on them.
  • Disappeared Dad: Z becomes this to his and Gabby's son after being killed by the Cartel.
  • Disney Death: Taylor. He passes out wounded, seemingly dead, as Z stays at his side, before The Crew catches up to him and shoots him fatally, leaving both men lifeless in the middle of the alley. In the next scene, Taylor is shown injured yet alive at Z's funeral.
  • Documentary: In-universe. Taylor is filming his day for a "school project". Action scenes switch between what those cameras are seeing and regular angles.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Inverted, early scenes establish Taylor and Z as borderline Sociopathic Heroes, they enjoy the action of the cop life and seem to have enjoyed the shootout at the beginning of the movie. But as the film goes on, you see them as being exceptionally good cops who are more than willing to put their life on the line. After they rescue a family from a burning house, earning a medal of valor, they notably start acting less bloodthirsty and more professional and focused on their job.
  • Eye Scream: Van Hauser's right eyeball is split in half by a knife, causing his retirement from the force.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Family seems to be brought up quite often by the two officers. Especially Z. Taylor reveals that Janet is pregnant just before the climax, which leads to the fake-out where it seems like both died, when Taylor survived because Z took the brunt of the last attack.
  • Fight Scene: Z and a repeat offender go at it to settle their differences. After losing the fight, the offender agrees to come quietly, while Taylor and Zavala don't charge him with Assaulting an Officer.
  • Fingore: Taylor got his radio shot out of his hand during the initial ambush, the actual injury was unknown (actual bullet through the hand or shrapnel from the shattered radio).
  • Found Footage: Both the cops and the Curbside Crew are recording themselves.
  • Friend to All Children: Taylor appears to be this as between him and his partner, he is the angriest at the two Abusive Parents for duck-taping their children; and after removing the ducktape from one of the kids, Taylor places a reassuring gesture to the child. And after discovering is pregnant, he is glowing with pride.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Both our protagonists. See Jerkass below.
    Zavela: (to Taylor) You know you're a piece of shit, right?
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Cartel leader who orders the hit from south of the border through Big Evil.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Taylor and Z say that they're brothers, and the whole film is basically scene after scene reinforcing it.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Z and Taylor have a moment like this after they receive their medals for saving the kids from the house fire, partially because of the Anger Born of Worry they received from the ladies in their respective lives.
    Zavela: You feel like a hero?
    Taylor: (thinks for a moment) No.
    Zavela: Man, me neither. What's a hero feel like?
    Taylor: I dunno, man.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The criminals in the film don't aim their weapons well, which doesn't help when using the notoriously inaccurate AKM. A team of five of them fire on Z and Taylor late in the film, from an elevated position where Z and Taylor have no cover from, and only end up landing one shot. It's even lampshaded by the lesbian gangbanger right after.
  • Jerkass:
    • Van Hauser, in a very stoic, cold, and passive-aggressive way - it's explained he's like this, due to getting repeatedly fucked over by the LAPD for a promotion and placed on shit duties.
      Taylor: Oh, you mean the USS Van Hauser? LAPD's stealthiest submarine? Only surfaces at End of Watch?
    • Taylor and Z touch it at times, such as pulling juvenile pranks on their fellow officers, talking shit to van Hauser's face, annoying the ICE, repeatedly cursing and roughing up suspects, and engaging in very fratboy-like antics (not that the rest of the department, "Boot" and van Hauser notwithstanding, are much better).
  • Lesbian Cop: Officer Orozzco is one of Taylor and Z's fellow cops at the Unit 13 and is confirmed to be a lesbian after she gives a kiss to her wife/girlfriend during Taylor's wedding. And earlier than that, it was implied Orozzco and La La had some kind of relationship, but it's up in the air.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Probably thanks to shock, Van Hauser is remarkably calm as he explains what happened to the main characters that led to him getting a knife wedged in his eye.
  • Mockumentary: Much of the film is shot from Taylor's handheld camera as part of his class documentary project, as well as apparently recovered footage from the Curbside gang, who are constantly filming themselves.
  • Mood Whiplash: After Z's funeral, the film flashes back to a humorous story that Z tells about having to hide from his wife's parents the first night they had sex, which is funny as well as tragic given the information we know about his future.
  • Mundane Utility: Taylor carries around a camera to film his police lifestyle. While raiding a house, he uses it to peek around corners.
  • New Meat: The young, pretty, fresh-from-the-academy officer assigned as Van Hauser's partner. The two protagonists don't even know her name. She quits after a criminal severely beats her face in.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: One member of the Cartel catches a patrol squad, leaving a knife in the eye of one and beating the hell out of a rookie until Taylor and Z show up.
  • Oh, Crap!: Taylor and Z know something is really bad when ICE in para-military gear show up.
  • Overprotective Dad: When Taylor mentions that his and Janet's baby is a girl, he states that his daughter won't ever get married.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After being cavalier with the shootout in the beginning of the film, they show significant restraint when dealing with a thug who viciously attacked two fellow officers. Their Sergeant even said they would have easily been exonerated if they killed the guy, but Taylor just said he didn't feel like shooting someone today.
    • La La is friendly towards one of the dancers she meets at a party.
  • Police Procedural: A good portion of the film is Found Footage-style examination of a ghetto cop's day-to-day life. The bad aspects of the job are often highlighted.
  • Psycho Lesbian: La La, one of Big Evil's crew members. Aside from her threatening and flirting with female cop, Orozzco, and making out with a dancer at a ghetto party, her depravity and sexuality are independent.
  • Really Gets Around: Taylor, which he also deconstructs. He mentions having meaningless one-night stands with random women who he then has a Friends with Benefits type of relationship and states that it is getting tiring because he wants to find someone he can have a meaningful relationship with.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Almost happens with Janet, as she uses Taylor's camera to leave him a message after their first night together and she holds up a snub nose revolver he has in his bedroom and asks him to take her to the shooting range sometime. She handles it like someone who doesn't know how to hold a gun, but doesn't make any significant mistakes (ie. finger on the trigger, ignorant of where the barrel is pointing).
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: In the beginning, a black gang is shown complaining about the shifting demographics of their neighborhood, then getting gunned down by the invading Sureño gang.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Why is the Big Bad called "Big Evil"? "'Cause my evil is big."
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The sergeant reveals that he's still suffering from a partner taking a fatal bullet for him, back when he was in the military.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: A good chunk of the characters would qualify to some extent, but Big Evil and his followers particularly stand out in this regard (and among them, Big Evil himself and La La are easily the worst), which is especially notable in a film with as much foul language as this one.
  • Spoiler Title: "End of Watch" is a term that refers to the end of a police officer's duty shift. It is also formally used when police officers are killed in the line of duty.
  • Taking the Bullet: At Brian's wedding their Captain mentions, after drinking a lot, that during a tour of duty in the military a buddy of his took a bullet for him. He still feels guilty, thinking he was the one who deserved to die. It's implied that the reason Brian survived the final ambush is because Z's body, including his bulletproof vest, was able to shield him from the worst of it. It was likely unintentional because it just happened to be the right angle, but works the same way.
  • Those Two Guys: Officers Orozco and Davis, the female pair, always seem to be the second on the scene.
  • Turn in Your Badge: The rookie hands her sergeant her badge while being carted off to a hospital, indicating her resignation.
  • Worthy Opponent: The repeat offender speaks of Z and Taylor like this to his underlings after the fight scene, with obvious respect in his voice, because he notes that they could've double-teamed him but instead Z gave him a straight up one-on-one fight and told Taylor to stay out of it. He also notes that they could have given him a third felony charge for their fight with him, but instead booked him for disorderly conduct and let him go free.
  • Would Hit a Girl: One of the cartel members viciously beats up a female cop.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/EndOfWatch