Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Very intense and very reminiscent of Training Day which makes sense because Ayer also wrote that film. Gyllenhaal and Pena shine as Los Angeles cops dealing with one of the shittiest areas in the city. They seem to get into drug dealer and cartel shoot outs every week with no real mental repercussions, they just go one with their day. The seeming absurdity of what is going on is something one just has to get past, just as with Training Day.
The thing that makes this unique but also confused is its shooting style. The start of the film sets up the idea that Gyllenhaal’s character is in law school but also taking a filmmaking class so he is filming himself and his partner on the job with little pinhole cameras on their uniforms. This creates some interesting and exciting first person action and chase sequences. At the same time the movie is also shot like a traditional film. So while half of it is footage shot by the characters in the movie, with characters talking into the cameras, the other half of it is a traditionally shot film. It mostly works, and it isn’t confusing or anything, just seems like an odd choice. I suppose the wanted the immediacy of the found footage look without having to commit to how do they explain why they would be filming a dramatic conversation at someone’s wedding for example.
The movie is pretty over the top but also exciting and in your face. The two lead performances are strong and the pace never really slacks. It doesn’t really seem to interested in delving into the minds and personalities of people who seem to be getting into deadly shootouts all the time which feels like a missed opportunity. I really don’t think someone who is seen killing so many people would then just be cracking jokes into his camera later that week even if he is a police officer and it is all in the line of duty.