IN writer/director David Ayer’s Los Angeles police drama, Jake Gyllenhaal plays former US Marine Brian with a law degree and a yearning to become a filmmaker, earning his living as a uniform patrolman buddied with Z (Michael Pena).
The film takes a wider view of police culture and life than most of its genre. Its best virtue is its treatment of cop life between the action bits. Its least virtue is its heavy content of mock-doco footage that Brian shoots on the job as work experience for entry to film school.
The film intersperses scenes highlighting the worst of what police have to deal with between day-to-day policing tasks and private life. Its central plot thread develops after Brian and Z accidentally stumble on a drug shipment during a routine traffic stop.
The film succeeds moderately well in portraying the specialisation of police life as relatively unremarkable, 99 per cent quiet moments, one per cent white knuckle stuff. But it would not be unkind to classify it as not much elevated above the pot-boiler classification.
At Capitol 6 and Hoyts