End of Watch

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

This may seem frivolous, but does the Chicken Dance really span so many cultures? The Wikipedia page seems to suggest it does. Perhaps we'll look back on it one day as the unexpected uniter of humanity in peace, harmony, and oom-pah.

But it's just a small, sweet part of End of Watch. Which follows around two LAPD beat cop partners, Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) as they prowl the very mean streets of a crime-ridden Los Angeles neighborhood.

The idea is that this is "found video", pieced together from recordings taken by the participants themselves. (Taylor is taking a filmmaking class, and he says his video for a class project.) That means there's a lot of bouncy/shaky camerawork, meant to add an air of reality to the enterprise. (Does this technique drive traditional cinematographers crazy?) Everybody records everything, though, so we not only get video of Taylor and Zavala on the job, we also get to see their personal lives. And the bad guys have video too.

Taylor and Zavala have great chemistry together—their videotaped banter is often hilarious—and they're also brave, smart, and effective cops. Unfortunately, disrupting too many criminal enterprises brings them to the deadly attention of the Sinaloa cartel.

The best actress ever to come out of Portland, Maine, Anna Kendrick, plays Taylor's love interest and eventual wife. And yes, if you want to see Anna Kendrick do the Chicken Dance, this is your movie.

The people who count such things count 326 occurrences of the F-word, which is good enough to put End of Watch in sixth place on the all-time list.

Last Modified 2013-06-19 1:27 PM EDT