Written and Directed By David Ayer
Wow. There is intensity, and then there is this. David Ayer returns to the inner city police/gang drama that won him such acclaim after writing the script for Training Day, bringing something that is nearly two hours of relentlessness. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña play a couple of renegade uniforms (or, as they call themselves, ghetto street cops) in the worst neighborhoods in LA, and while the story takes place over several months (at least), it is intended to show you a day in the life of people with this job. The situations they find themselves in are dramatic, harsh and extreme, and they must try not to crack under the pressure of protecting their corner of the city from the violent horrors of the streets. Ayer makes masterful use of handheld camerawork, which adds to the gritty ultrarealism on display. Between that and the editing, there is such a sense of adrenaline infused into the film that even at its slower moments (which are few and far between), it appears to be moving at a hundred miles per hour. America Ferrara and Anna Kendrick bring a lot to their smaller roles as the significant others of our two “heroes,” bringing along some added humor, romance and tenderness to something that could otherwise be viewed as quite bleak. The movie actually is quite funny, as the daily hijinks of Taylor and Zavala serve to distract them from their reality and help us invest in their friendship. You may see the ending coming, but that won’t make it any less impactful when you get there. This is a very good film that, while sometimes hard to watch, speaks volumes.