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End of Watch

On justice as a journey to the abyss

This is the story of Brian & Mike, LA policemen who patrol the bad neighborhoods. The white one happens to be clever – he is ambitious & wants to make detective. The Mexican married his high-school sweetheart, who told him the police is a good job; he is expecting a kid. One day they meet a black criminal, who annoys the Mexican – the cop says, let’s fight. It’s a fair fight, & he wins, small as he is.

These two men are fated to become heroes. They are different races; they lived different lives before becoming nobody policemen that detectives bully around; fate overcomes these differences. They act as if they could save people from crime. They do not understand the necessity of evil. Whether it threatens them or they see it or they suspect it lurks somewhere around them, they go looking for trouble. Chasing after evil, they separate from the rest of mankind.

They are inclined to become family men for that reason. The experience of harsh necessity makes them willing to live & die faithfully. We see that erotic love & family love come into conflict, but family must win. Then we see that the love of brothers in arms is stronger than family love, but it defends family. The men know they will have to take care of each other’s children if their partners should die.

One of the black criminals tells us that blacks are replaced by Mexicans. A new race of criminals thrives in the city of angels. The new criminals operate on both sides of the border & share none of the old criminals’ attachment to American habits. They do not speak the language. They think of humans as slaves. Torture & slaughter are means to get wealth. They desecrate corpses.

The policemen learn of a corruption they could not suspect. Time & again, they find houses hiding unthinkable things. One day, a black criminal tells them now there are assassins after them. The policemen reply that everyone wants to kill them anyway. Then they learn the difference. They meet people as fearless as they are, but lawless, hateful.

In the beginning we hear the policeman’s monologue. It starts: ‘I am the police.’ It ends: ‘We are the police.’ The difference is easily explained: Men are mortal. They embody the laws & they do not embody the laws both. So the policeman says: ‘I am fate with a badge & a gun.’ Fate is anonymous, however, & has no private life. One day, one cop asks the other: Do you feel like a hero? The other one does not. Neither does the one. He asks, I wonder, what do heroes feel like?

Best cop movie in years. See it.