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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
End of Watch (2012)

End of Watch (2012)

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Released 6-Mar-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama Audio Commentary-Writer / director David Ayer
Deleted Scenes
Trailer-x 2 but not for this film
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 104:10
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Ayer

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal
Michael Peña
Natalie Martinez
Anna Kendrick
David Harbour
Frank Grillo
Case ?
RPI ? Music David Sardy

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Michael Pena) are patrolmen in the LAPD. They are good friends on and off duty, ordinary guys, risking their lives while trying to do their job in a very dangerous neighbourhood. End of Watch is a fly on the wall look at their daily lives for a few months. Along the way they settle domestic disputes, save children from a burning house, get involved in a gang war between Blacks and Hispanics and become the targets of a drug cartel.

     End of Watch may be the best film about patrol cops for a long, long time. It has a documentary feel; it often looks like a home video (indeed most characters carry around cam recorders of some kind). Thus we have constantly moving cameras, jerky shots, characters partly out of frame or obscured, different POVs, diverse video footage in different formats; some footage is almost black and white, some night vision in green, some with very grainy digital noise, most quite soft. This gives the film a very raw and immediate feel, with immense energy, as if we are on the street with these men. The action sequences, including car chases and shootouts, are chaotic and there are tense moments as the cops enter buildings, not knowing what they may find. I am not a great fan of the “shaky cam” style, but here it is appropriate and very effective.

     The dialogue is also raw and realistic, and some of the interchanges are very funny. The focus of the film is the close brotherhood between men doing a difficult and deadly job, and the sacrifices they are required to make, so End of Watch does spend a little time with them off duty, with Mike and his wife Gabby (Natalie Martinez) and Brian and his girlfriend Janet (Anna Kendrick). In the main roles Gyllenhaal and Pena are both excellent; they look and sound natural and share an obvious chemistry.

     In End of Watch writer / director David Ayer (writer of some decent films such as U-571 (2000) and Training Day (2001)) has crafted a raw and intense film that looks and feels real. Brian and Mike are not supermen, nor are they perfect. They are human beings with the same concerns as ordinary people, and we get to know them well during the course of the film. But more than any film for a long time End of Watch successfully shows the reality of what it is like to be on the street in a black and white. End of Watch pulls no punches, and the ending is as gritty and as realistic as what has gone before.

     End of Watch is an excellent film, intense, exciting and affecting. It is as close as you can come to real life without riding in a black and white in the gang infested areas of Los Angeles. Unreservedly recommended.

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Transfer Quality


     End of Watch is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 1.85:1 being the original ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     As noted in the review, much of End of Watch looks as if it was being shot by a cam recorder of one kind or another. As such the video is deliberately soft, with digital noise, varied brightness, contrast and colours. Blacks are sometimes not solid, shadow detail indistinct, but this is intentional, and the DVD cannot be judged in the same way as normal prints. When the film moves away from cam recording, it is crisply detailed, with solid blacks and natural, if muted, colours. There is minor ghosting with motion but otherwise, except where deliberate, marks and artefacts were absent.

     There are English subtitles for the hearing impaired.

     The layer change at 57:06 resulted in a slight pause on my equipment.

     The print is as intended by the filmmaker, giving a deliberate feeling of rawness and immediacy.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio commentary at 224 Kbps and an audio description for the vision impaired with the same specifications.

     Dialogue was occasionally hard to hear, due to characters speaking quickly, various accents or speaking in cars with the engine noise. Again, this seems a deliberate choice that adds to the feeling of rawness and reality; in many situations in normal life we cannot hear everything being said. However, nothing essential to the story is lost, and there are always the subtitles.

     The rest of the sound stage was enveloping and effective. The surrounds added engines, shots, fire effects in the burning house, ambient noise at the wedding and music, including directional effects. The original score by David Sardy was augmented by numerous songs from the likes of Public Enemy, The Delfonics, Mazzy Star, Golden Earring and Salt ‘N’ Pepa among others. The sub-woofer added bass to the music, effects and gunshots.

     Lip synchronisation was good.

     The audio is very good.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     On start-up there were trailers for The Intouchables and Red Dawn that run 4:23.

Audio Commentary: David Ayer (writer / director)

     Ayer is a humorous, engaging and intelligent speaker and provides a good audio commentary covering his intentions, shooting on location in South Central L.A., anecdotes, the cooperation of the police forces and technical issues involving the various digital cameras used. Informative and interesting.

Deleted Scenes (11:30)

     Five deleted scenes, designated by scene number. Most are sections cuts from existing scenes and are worth a look.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region A US Blu-ray has the commentary, 17 deleted scenes (totalling 46:41) and 5 short featurettes. I cannot find a review of the Region 1 DVD, and the only listing indicated there are no extras. I’m not sure if that is so.

     The Region 2 UK DVD release includes:

     The UK looks the choice as far as DVD is concerned.


     End of Watch may be the best film about patrol cops for a long, long time. End of Watch successfully shows the reality of what it is like to be out on the street with patrol cops and is as close as you can come to real life without riding in a black and white in L.A.

     The video is as the filmmaker intended, the audio very good. We do get the good audio commentary available in other regions, but miss out on over 30 minutes of deleted scenes and other extras available elsewhere.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, March 25, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE