RELEASE DATE: 01/11/2012
RUN TIME: 1HR 49MIN
Showing the nitty-gritty of both sides of the law is what makes this film special, but where it truly shines is the relationship between Taylor and Zavala. We get to see their professional lives, private lives and personal lives, which adds to the layers and dimensions of not only their characters but the real life profession they’re conveying. Gyllenhaal and Peña have a brotherly love and chemistry that's so authentic it’s difficult to see where their characters end and the actors begin.
If having to pick any faults, there are just two - the first being the found-footage angle. The excuse for our cops was flimsy but workable. The criminals are plausible. It’s the in-between shots and a few angles that break from the flow of the film and gives the audience time to question whose perspective we’re looking at and why. The second fault is our two heroes; they’re unquestionably loyal to their duties and their job, and they’re very successful at what they do - the problem is, they don’t have any character flaws. Even Gyllenhaal’s character spends the first half of the film complaining that he can’t find a woman he can talk to, only ones he can sleep with. What!? The boys commit minor ethical infractions but never moral ones. Doing what they do and more importantly where that do it, there’s no way they’re that clean.
Showing the nitty-gritty of both sides of the law is what makes this film special, but where it truly shines is the relationship between Taylor and Zavala.
When it comes to the cast, Gyllenhaal is infallible as always, but it’s Peña who just radiates off the screen. Having a decent and beefy character to sink his teeth into, he's finally found a role deserving of his immense talent.
Writer/director David Ayer’s obsession with law enforcement has once again paid off as he splendidly captures the emotionally raw and human side of what the men and women on both sides of the thin blue line go through on a daily basis.