End of Watch follows LAPD patrol officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his partner Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) as they get drawn deeper and deeper into each other's lives and into the orbit of a brutal Mexican cartel. The heart of this film (and it has enormous heart) is the devotion these guys have for each other and for the women in their lives (Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez, both splendid). Gyllenhaal and Pena invest their characters with emotional intelligence and sincerity and deliver two wonderful performances for a story that isn't really that complicated. And maybe that's why it's so good.
Dreadful things are foreshadowed early on, but Ayer keeps the story locked down pretty tightly, so the last 10 minutes are unexpected and riveting. The film's epilogue is especially affecting, as well. Recommended.