When Wifesy and I watch a movie, it’s very serious business. We are movie buffs and Netflix junkies. Wifesy is the first person I’ve ever met who actually OWNS movies. A huge collection of movies. At first I thought it was ‘redunkulous,’ but then I realized much like a good song, if a story is good, you want to hear it / see it again. Especially if there’s been some distance between the current viewing and the last time you watched it. I had that experience with Tootsie recently. Re-watched it and went, “Holy Shiznatch, I totally forgot Bill Murray was in this.” It truly is like watching it for the first time, all over again.
I’m also obsessed with writers whenever something is really strong. I watch a film that I find truly “different” from the constant muck out there and the first thing I want to do is check the credits for the writer. That’s what happened to me this weekend with End of Watch.
End of Watch is a buddy-cop movie like no other. And you know it from the second the film opens. The first scene is a typical cop / bad guy car chase, but the camera pov is told from the cop car dashboard.
Basically, this movie took what Blair Witch Project TRIED to do and did it right.
I remember the hype leading up to Blair Witch. I even remember waiting on a long line to get a ticket to the thing back when I was living in New York. When I actually went and saw the film, it was a huge let down. I found the camera moves nauseating and the story thin. Not so with End of Watch. The BEST part of the film is the story and the perfectly told relationship between these two, brother-like, cops.
Honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find better dialogue anywhere else. In my opinion, it’s pitch perfect.
Here’s an example:
I mean that is just GREAT dialogue. It’s got everything. It’s funny, it’s real, it shows you the true essence of the characters to the extent where you feel as if you’ve just been hit with a pie in the face. It comes on that strong because it’s both direct AND visceral.
And that leads me to the second great point about this move — IT’S DIVERSE.
Really spot-on, diverse casting…just as Los Angeles really looks, so does the cast of this movie.
I read an interview with the writer/ director, David Ayer, after watching the film. He talked about how the LAPD used to hire white, male, ex-Marines. Almost exclusively. So, the entire force looked just about the same. Now they hire people who look more like the citizens they are policing and that has to be worth its weight in gold. Plus, it makes for a FAR more interesting movie.
Take, for example, a small element of the movie that stuck out for me, but really was just a SMALL angle. What it did, in my opinion, was it scored immense points for the story/ character/ and authenticity of the film.
American Ferrera has a bit part as a lady cop, who also happens to be a lesbian. It’s not a central part of the film. It’s mentioned and thrown away. In fact, it’s not even mentioned. We see her kiss a girl and that’s it. What’s interesting is that her female counterpart, the right hand to the top gang leader, is also a ghetto-lesbian. This is also thrown away. She cruises a girl and that’s it. It’s fascinating and does great service to showing how these two worlds are exact opposite sides of the same coin.
Something similar happens when Brian Taylor’s partner, Mike Pena, decides he’s going to “street fight” with a guy that insults him during their shift. He takes his gun off and gives the guy a spanking. In doing so, he gains street cred with the guy he fights and his partner, Brian, shares in his victory. In the next scene, we see the top gang leader and one of his underlings go through something nearly exact in its “boys-bond-bloody” sentiment. The underling is forced to “man up” and is rewarded with the leader’s praise, just as Mike was rewarded with Brian’s, post-fight.
Ayer talked about wanting to get Hollywood movies back to STORY and CHARACTER. So, if you’re interested in that – this is a must see film.
Since most of us are writers here, it should. :0
What about you? Have you seen any recent stories that have blown you away in terms of story and/ or character? What story-lines inspire you?
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