Richard Valdemar has an excellent movie review of End of Watch at over at policemag.com. Here is an excerpt from it strikes to heart of why it is a good movie; though not perfect. You can read the whole thing here.
My soul has been hurt and my heart saddened by the increasing wave of police corruption cases that have flashed across the TV and computer screen lately. Even the “holier than thou” FBI has reported an unprecedented number of federal agents who have been convicted of corruption, even in very high positions. We’ve been disappointed and shocked by the unethical conduct of some of our peers and supervisors. What’s changed?
Some of the blame for this unprecedented corruption can be laid at the feet of cops in current Hollywood movies and television. Instead of holding up a moral and ethical crusader and knight-like hero, they consistently give us the gritty realism of the anti-hero cop. The police characters they have given us are flawed. They play hard and fast with the rules. They win by any means necessary.
The newer generation who have grown up with these stereotypical, and popular, depictions of cops as anti-heroes have become victims of this propaganda. The acceptance of this stereotype seriously weakens the mind-set of young people and endangers their ability to resist ethical and moral corruption and misconduct. Rather than calling them up to the higher principals, these movies seemingly condone cheating and acts of street justice under the color of authority.
“End of Watch” (2012), which has made several top-10 lists, provides a refreshing avoidance of this Hollywood formula. This production has captured the most realistic depiction of everyday police officers working a gang-infested, economically-depressed, crime-ridden area. The two primary actors, who play LAPD partners, accurately portray the dialogue and banter exchanged in a patrol car by real cops while attempting to keep the peace in this impossible environment. It seemed so real that I felt like I had known these cops at some point in my career. It transported me to my time as a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy.
As with the best cohesive units I was part of, the kidding and bantering was sometimes racial. But contrary to the usual Hollywood stereotype, the cop characters were not depicted as racist or bigots. They liked each other. In attempting to do their jobs, the cops risked life and limb to protect the innocent, especially the children, who exist in the accurately portrayed gritty reality of the ghetto. The characters showed us that these cops honestly cared for people.
The movie’s gang-member characters are also more like real gang members. Unlike most stereotypical Hollywood gang characters, they are accurately portrayed as violently crazy and dangerous, but disciplined while operating within their own code of conduct. They are much more frightening as villains because of this. The introduction of Mexican drug cartels into the story is an additional true-to-life departure from Hollywood’s political correctness.
This movie isn’t perfect, but it’s a positive depiction of the men and women of law enforcement. It is not a fairy tale, but it’s uplifting and inspirational. Like those classic movies, this movie shows the noble side of this job and the sacrifice required to be a good officer.