Roped-in to direct the next Spider-Man reboot, Jon Watts’s Cop Car is about this two kids – Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) & Harrison (Hays Wellford) who seemed to be running away from home. As they are wandering around the countryside they stumble upon a cop car with no one in it. Fascinated by this opportunity they take the car for a joyride until they realize that they have stolen the worst possible cop car they could ever come across.
What starts-off as kind of cute , escalates into the Cormic McCarthy territory, making it really, wonderfully dark. Cop Car is an interesting little indie. It never gets too ambitious of its premise and just wants to tell a simple story. The direction is phenomenal and even though the narrative is uneven a couple of times, it manages to keep you hooked with its darkly hilarious, wildly unpredictable story telling. The film is occasionally grim and hilarious at the same time, which is a feat on its own. There are scenes of kids playing with guns that am sure will be off-putting for a lot of people. But the film is intense, specially the first 30 odd minutes are breathtaking. I was crawled up like a ball wanting to know how this pans out for these naive kids on board.
The film is stripped and cut down to only the essentials and nothing feels out of place, except maybe a few speed-bumps. The tension and unpredictability is not just for the viewers, Kevin Bacon who plays the bad-sheriff is losing it as he doesn’t know what he has to do to get his car back. The tension settles down into him as he mingles down the random countryside trying to find a way out of the mess he has got himself into. There is a scene where he tries to use his shoe-lace to open a random car’s window. The scene cracked me up.
I was amused to see how Jon Watts uses the innocence of his two leading child actors. He doesn’t make them intelligent enough to solve crimes on their own and that is exactly what makes it a great watch. The two young actors play their part perfectly. Kevin Bacon has always been one of my favorite actors, you can see the range of his acting here as well. For a second he is a nice policeman, then a bad one and then a terrifying one. There’s also Shea Whigham who nails it in a terrifying scene in the third act.
Final Verdict: This is a truly excellent crime thriller which stand on its own. Go watch it!