The writer of “Training Day” and director of “Street Kings” delivers what he knows best, another thrilling cop drama. This time around, David Ayer writes the story of two extremely likable partners, who tackle the streets of South Central Los Angeles. However, it’s the run-in with the city’s most dangerous Mexican cartel that puts a hit on both officers.
The chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena is undeniable and grants the film personal momentum, it’s where the boys talk family, goals, and girls. The insight into their friendship allows the comedy to flourish, and helps make the more shocking parts of the film, such as domestic abuse and human trafficking slightly more bearable. This is where the movie excels brilliantly, tugging at the audience’s emotions in a wide range, so the viewer is not drenched is overwhelming sadness, or fear, or even laughter for too long.
Half of the film is shot in a shaky handheld fashion, that Gyllenhaal’s character shoots with a camcorder or a camera attached to his lapel, to give it that trendy new-wave “raw” quality. The other half, of course, is steady and typical Hollywood style. The unsteady scenes add comedic relief with Gyllenhaal trying to be slick at hiding the cameras, but it also provides an avenue for the gasps, jokes, and sideways commentary to be caught on tape.
The film shines with its variety of emotions, its unexpected take on comedy interspersed within the glimpses of brutal street life, and letting the audience experience the police officer’s charming bromance. Make your high-speed chase to theaters this Friday, September 21st.