Box art for End of Watch

End of Watch

action & adventure, drama, thrillers

Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Disturbingly violent but heroic depiction of L.A. cops.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that End of Watch -- a handheld-footage-style drama about two L.A. police officers -- has all of the violence you'd expect from a mature cop story (guns, shooting, blood, dead bodies, etc.) and then some: Gruesome and horrific violence is committed against women, children, and others. The language, too, is extremely strong and constant, with what seems like hundreds of uses of "f--k" (and plenty other salty words, too). There's strong sexual innuendo, and the main characters are shown to be intimate and affectionate with their wives/girlfriends. No nudity is shown, but there are scantily clad women in a dance club, and two women kiss. Drugs (pot, cocaine) are shown and discussed. Still, End of Watch has a genuine high regard for the bravery and teamwork of police officers.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about End of Watch's extreme violence. How much of it was necessary to tell the story? Was it thrilling or frightening? How does its impact compare to the gore of a horror movie?
  • Are these characters role models? How does the movie make you feel about police officers?
  • Why do you think language and sexual innuendo are so strong in this movie? Do these characters need it for a release from the pressures of their job? Why?
  • The characters place a great deal of importance on family, wives, and children. Does their job's dangerous nature increase the need for a family?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all End of Watch reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: The best scenes are filmed inside the cruiser, dashboard shots that face inward instead of out, catching Gyllenhaal and Pea in moments so playful and true they make all other buddy cops look bogus by comparison.

- Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fresh: A visceral story of beat cops that is rare in its sensitivity, rash in its violence and raw in its humor.

- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fresh: Ayer and his cast appear to have so convincingly nailed the way these characters talk and act that you might not even notice the film slipping from workaday grit into out-and-out myth.

- Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine, Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Audience Reviews

4 stars

img]] End of Watch makes a massively ambitious and very rewarding attempt to portray how brutal the lives of the LAPD can get whilst simultaneously edging in some cop movie melodrama. It succeeds, and the result is one of the best cop movies in years. A little melodrama can go a long way, and sucking up to clichs is definitely not what David Ayer was attempting to do with this film. His focus is on the characters at the center of all the action, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pea are absolutely brilliant at fleshing out the sense of realism in the characters whilst at the same time making them more likable than previously portrayed characters in buddy cop films. The conversations they both share generally consists of banter and the discussion of their daily lives. But when they are thrown into life and death situations the tension is then cranked up to it's highest because we grow attatched to them. Basically, the script is fantastic. The storyline is fairly generic, however this is the point. I've heard bad things about the plot of the film but I think it truly deserves to indulge in it's simplicity. I think here Jake Gyllenhaal is at his strongest since Brokeback Mountain and Michael Pea takes a genuine turning point in his career. I always find that he's never bad. If he's in a bad movie, his performance is nevertheless anything but lazy. The cinematography is fantastic and the pacing is absolutely perfect. It's deadly serious tone is never misjudged by it's ruthless violence and down right funny tongue in cheek sense of humour. It's well directed, intriguing, touching and highly entertaining. I suspect Oscar nominations if not wins. Gritty, realistic, and skilfully executed behind and on camera, David Ayer just might have made his masterpiece. A heartfelt and touching homage to the LAPD, that in his previous films he has gone on to criticise in ways that are only matched by the compassion he shows for them within this great film.

- aquateen2, Tuesday, December 25, 2012

3 stars

Remember the old US TV cop show 'Chips'? well never mind cos this ain't nothing like that lol!. From the films poster you can tell this is a badass cops, drugs and guns drama which will no doubt have lots of profanity and gangbangin involved. Profanity you say? check!, holy assburgers there is tonnes of it, a possible record breaker here folks. Aside from that the film is actually pretty good and did keep me interested throughout. The plot is basically about the lives of two LA cops going about their daily lives and err that's it. Not only do we get the bad side of being a cop, naturally, we also see the odd perks and how these guys get along together both on the beat and personally. The whole film is made in a hands on/handheld cam style which we all know about mainly from a few alien and horror flicks. At first it does feel as if its a documentary style and there is a cameraman with the two officers but we find out Gyllenhaal's character is doing some of the filming himself for his own personal project. So the look moves from a police pov to a handheld cam style as if someone else was there with the cops filming. Visuals are of course rugged, real and at times hectic when the officers burst into action or come under fire. It does add a thrill to the film and gives the whole thing a sharper edge, it basically feels like you're watching one of those real cop TV shows with real footage. Naturally the family side of the story isn't really very interesting and I did find myself yearning for them to get back on the beat. Pregnant wives and relationships zzzzzzz...more door bashing drug/weapon raids please. On the whole the plot does feel somewhat jumbled and as if its going nowhere but towards the end it does meld together. Unfortunately the ending disappointed me, the cops come under heavy fire from a gang so they go on the run. As they escape they take down two vehicles driven by gangsters, now at this point I instantly thought the pair should jump in one of these criminals cars and drive off to safety. Whilst there they could also have grabbed one of the dead criminals weapons for extra protection seeing as all they have is handguns low on ammo. But no! they don't do either and just remain on foot trying to outrun or dodge their way clear through alleys. Now surely common sense would dictate what I suggested no? maybe that's just me, the bad guys expire in a pretty weak cliched way too. Bit of an anti climax that lets the rest of the film down if you ask me. On the whole the film is decent with great performances from the two leads. You really do think you're watching a cop TV show, all that's missing is that stupid intense voice narrating everything hehe. The only down side is, as an Englishman looking on, the film doesn't really put black Americans or Hispanic/Mexican Americans living in LA, in a very good light. Kinda puts you off going anywhere near the city limits, but I guess you could say kudos to the actors and director for making me feel that way, the film made its presence known.

- phubbs1, Monday, December 10, 2012

3 stars

Every moment of your life they stand watch. Great Film! In terms of subject matter this film doesn't cover anything really different. Its about cops dealing with their issues at home and on the job. This topic has been covered countless times but what makes End Of Watch different and better then many of its predecessors is that it holds realism as its number one priority. This is one of the most realistic portrayals of police life ever put to celluloid. The day to day lives of these two best friends are shown in a format that is both convincing and horrifying. It doesn't flinch away when showing the disturbing aspects of this high pressure career. Gyllenhaal and Pea provide us with two highly believable characters and their chemistry is palpable. Whether they're talking about the women in their lives or having a friendly argument about racial stereotypes, these two actors ensure that we stick with their characters through every step of the way. Gyllenhaal continues to solidify himself as one of the best actors around and Pea delivers one of his best performances to date. It's got a great script and a focused story that is handled confidently and told well. David Ayer has crafted an intense, hard hitting drama that benefits from the two excellent performances by the two leads. Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop.

- xXGiNoBiLiPRXx, Monday, December 10, 2012