TrustMovies grew up in the Los Angeles area, and his understanding of and experience with the police there tend toward the darker side of things, so while he had no trouble believing much of Ayer's sleaze-filled scenarios, he found it unexpectedly bracing, even moving to see the skill, intelligence and camaraderie that seem second-nature to the two fine actors playing the cops-at-work here: Jake Gyllenhaal, (below, right) as the rowdy, smart, white-bread Brian Taylor, and Michael Peña (below, left) as his quieter but no less savvy Mexican-Ameri-can partner, Mike Zavala.
Roman Vasyanov, use hand-held to nearly the breaking point, putting us up close to the people and action about as well as I have seen done so far. We're with our guys at work, chasing criminals, rescuing a family from a fire (above: this is one of the high points of the film), and getting into some major trouble (below) -- all of which keeps, toe-wise, the cops on theirs and us on ours.
Anna Kendrick (below, right), with her usual charm and flash.
Natalie Martinez, shown below, post-birth. If the film were simply all these guys, all the time, it would have been one of the best cop flicks ever, I believe. But Ayer has a real problem with the construction of his movie, particularly regarding point-of-view. The POV initially is all about -- and with -- our boys. Suddenly, there's a scene in which they do not appear at all, and we're driving along with a nut-job Latino gang. This plays itself out, a little oddly, for obvious plot purposes down the line, no doubt. Sure enough, that's what happens. But it thoroughly breaks our concentration and attention -- while calling unwanted attention to itself and its rather ham-handed entrance.
Open Road Films, opens this Friday, September 21, all over the place. In Manhattan alone, the film will be playing in ten theaters. But try to find any listing of playdates and theaters on the movie's web site, or that of Open Road, and you're out of luck. But keep looking. For all its flaws, this movie is very much worth experiencing.