Friday, February 15, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: End of Watch

2012, David Ayer (Street Kings) -- download

If anyone is going to pen the story of Chris Dorner, the recently killed cop-killing ex-cop, it will be David Ayer.   He is known for his cop dramas such as Training Day (writer) and Street Kings (director) normally set in South Central LA and in more than one instance, about that infamously corrupt police force.  In light of the media depiction of Dorner, as a murderous paranoid, would he be able to set a story of one cop's unsuccessful war against perceived corruption and injustice?  Hollywood has never been about the realism of "as based on" but it would be interesting to see what direction they would take.

Ayer takes this story from a found footage flick, where we have Gyllenhaal's Brian Taylor shooting with a handicam for a class project, into a multi-format movie seen through various hand held cameras as well as the traditional film camera.  This is not about the gimmick of video cameras but a choice of style, carrying some realism through real world perspectives.  And it works.  It really does, making it more personal than anything.  We are thrust into the lives of the cops and criminals, via dash cams and wedding videos, class projects and amateurs just fucking around with a camera.

Are all south central cops assholes?  Are they assholes who we grudgingly acknowledge as necessary with their bravado and in-your-face attitude?  Does it take this attitude to survive those dangerous neighbourhoods and actually make a difference?  This is what we are given when we meet Taylor and Zavala, products of their job and their world. And we also get heroes, not seasoned and corrupt veterans, but grunts driving their beat every day and seriously seeking to make it safer. We also get the tragic consequences of what happens when an unprepared police force runs into the unrepentant brutality of these new Mexican cartels.  You know those ones known for killing politicians, journalists and even bloggers who dare to write about them? Ayer does what few others do when telling stories about South Central LA, he leaves us caring about the cops we watch through the lense.