A few weeks ago, on a Saturday afternoon at my parents’ house, I was working on some stuff on my laptop and decided to put a movie on in the background. My fiancee was chilling with me, and she let me pick, so I loaded up Netflix. The movie I picked was End of Watch.
Why did I pick it? Don’t know. Did I watch the trailer? No. Did I read any good reviews? No. Did I know anything about the plot of the movie? No.
What I did know, was that one day when I was working late, my roommate asked if I wanted to chill and watch a movie with him and his girl. I had a deadline to meet, so I declined. While working, I heard something that caught my attention. It sounded like a police officer agreed to a fist fight with a suspect, while on duty, in order to prove a point. I literally stopped working for about a minute to listen to the scene. There were a lot of expletives, but I mentally checked it as something I “had to see”.
Fast forward to that Saturday morning, and there I was working again. I remembered the fight scene I had overheard, so I decided I could work while paying limited attention to the movie, just so I could understand the context of that specific scene. I didn’t expect it to be a great movie.
What happened next is every movie director’s dream. They say you have about 3 minutes to capture the attention of your movie audience. Well, I was busy typing stuff into Linux command line to do some maintenance tasks on a work server, and within those three minutes, I gradually went from glancing at the screen every few seconds to setting my laptop completely aside and dedicating all my mental resources to watching this movie. All it took was three minutes. Not because there were aliens blowing up buildings, but because it was a refreshing take on filmography, and the characters were human and engaging.
The Effect it Had on Me
There are only two films that have made me cry, to the best of my recollection: The Lion King, and A Beautiful Mind. This is the third. I had tears streaming down my face by the end of the movie. I was more invested in the lives of these movie characters than I had ever been in a long time. If you want to learn about character development, this movie can replace your textbook.
This film had me on the edge of my seat throughout, for no reason other than how invested I was in the characters’ safety and lives. At one point I was literally yelling at the TV, “Get out of the house! Get out of the house! Come on! Come on! Move, move!” My fists were clenched and I tensed up at various moments. I never do that in movies. About halfway through the movie I paused it. I looked at my fiancee and said, “Babe, I need to stop watching this movie. I don’t think I can handle all these emotions right now! If these guys die it’s gonna ruin my entire weekend.”
The movie took over my entire Saturday. After watching the movie, I was so captivated by the storyline and the new information it presented me with, that I went online to research Mexican Drug Cartels for about 5 hours straight. I watched documentaries on Youtube, and came across some interesting information. What really made the biggest mark on me was discovering this man: Chapo Guzman. He’s probably the most interesting person in the world to me, because of what he’s been able to do. He is a criminal, but I respect the guy. He’s smart, ruthless, an effective leader, a folk hero among his people in Sinaloa, and a gentleman. The stories about this guy are the stuff of legend.
I’m the type of person that can demarcate between the wheat and the chaff. I know people that will completely write someone off because they disagree on an issue. I, on the other hand, am quite interested in people I disagree with, especially if they have qualities that I’d like to acquire myself. For example, I’m captivated when I watch videos of Adolf Hitler speaking. He’s just so damn good at it. I remember a scene from The King’s Speech that caught my ear because I agreed:
Princess Elizabeth: [watching a clip of Hitler speaking] What’s he saying?
King George VI: I don’t know but… he seems to be saying it rather well.
Often the very worst people have the most breathtaking qualities about them.
Critical Reception and Final Thoughts
One of my favorite things to do is accidentally run into a movie gem, and End of Watch is just that. On top of that, it makes police work look so romantic and dangerous that It definitely serves as a recruitment tool for your local Police Academy! It is rated R, and there’s a lot of violence and language, so it’s definitely not a family movie. I appreciate that it depicts reality, though, and it does so unapologetically.
End of Watch is on Netflix streaming. I highly recommend it!