It's a fair cop as Hollywood gives good guys a shot

End of Watch's gritty authenticity puts it on a par with The Wire

I've always done the corrupt cop movie thing," says David Ayer. "I feel that take on the police has been beaten to death. I wanted to do something new, and ironically the best way to do that was to have good cops." So, for his new movie, Ayer, screenwriter of Training Day, Dark Blue and S.W.A.T and director of Street Kings and Harsh Times, decided to focus on a pair of good cops, and good friends, Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala, working the beat; Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena star. "In End of Watch, I wanted to show the LAPD as they really are", he says. "When I show it to cops they say, 'Finally. Someone has got it right.'"

Following the savage treatment of Rodney King, police movies such as Internal Affairs and L.A Confidential focused on the battle between good cop and bad cop, and the best way to clean up a city. In contrast, End of Watch is a throwback to the buddy partnership movies of the 1980s. Taylor and Zavala are like Riggs and Murtaugh of Lethal Weapon or Miami Vice's Crockett and Tubbs – edgy cops who flout the boundaries, but when it comes down to the wire have good intentions.

While those 1980s cops clearly inhabited a fantasy world, though, End of Watch wears its authenticity like a badge. Ayer would not consent to have Gyllenhaal in the movie until he was sure that the star would agree to follow officers on the beat for five months before shooting.

On the first day doing a ride-along, the actor witnessed a murder. "We were the second car on the scene to a gang shooting. I was at the forefront of danger and there were moments in the process where I was definitely afraid, but ultimately I had learned tactics and things to use if things were ever to happen," says Gyllenhaal. Three of the officers he met have since become close friends. "When you spend time with police officers from four in the afternoon to four in the morning and see what they have to go through, you see a lot of different things happen", says the actor. "But you soon learn that most of all it's about them doing a service for the public."

It's the human side that End of Watch does so well. These are the most realistically complex cops seen on screen since The Wire. The best scenes are those in which the guys talk about their domestic life, as Taylor ponders whether to marry his girlfriend, played by Anna Kendrick. Not all of the decisions that the partners make come from a good place. Some choices are made to avoid administration or because they are having a bad day at the office, Some officers are better than others. It's true to life.

Ayer warns that audiences shouldn't expect End of Watch to trigger a rash of movies about good cops. "There is so much inherent drama in a corruption story. In Hollywood it is always, 'What are the stakes? Let's raise the stakes!' So it's easy to default to corruption. At the script stage Iwould always get question, 'What is the conflict? What are the stakes?' And I'd say, 'Well, we care about these guys, we love these guys, we believe in them and this relationship and the stakes are how invested we become in them.' But you can't tell anybody that in my business because they are not going to believe that you can pull it off."

Now Ayer can safely say that he has proved the naysayers wrong.

'End of Watch' is released on Friday 23 November

Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans has been confirmed as the new host of Top Gear
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Top of the class: Iggy Azalea and the catchy ‘Fancy’
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
    Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

    Marks and Spencer

    Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
    'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

    'We haven't invaded France'

    Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
    Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

    Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

    The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
    7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

    Remembering 7/7 ten years on

    Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
    Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

    They’re here to help

    We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
    What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

    What exactly does 'one' mean?

    Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue