One of the films to breakout at Sundance this year was Cop Car, a film that got even more attention when it’s director Jon Watts was chosen as the guy to helm the next Spider-Man reboot continuing the trend of indie directors, who have one or two films to their credit directing big-time summer blockbusters and well people have been skeptical if he even has what it takes to make a good Spider-Man movie. Well the skeptics can rest assured because if anything Cop Car should at least prove that Jon Watts definitely has what it takes.
The film basically follows the story of these two ten-year-old boys who while wandering around in a field stumble across an abandoned cop car. Being the dumb ten-year-olds that they are they decide to take the car for a joyride, but little do they know that the corrupt sheriff (Kevin Bacon), who the car belongs to has something very valuable in it and things only get worse for the boys when the sheriff comes looking for it and the boys quickly find out that they are in way over their heads.
Cop Car is a film that has a very simple premise, in fact this is one of those movies where you should rather go in knowing the bare minimum, but I honestly gotta hand it to director Jon Watts, he manages to craft an incredibly deft and suspenseful thriller that had me glued to my seat. Many elements of the film are very reminiscent to some of the Coen Brothers work, particularly No Country For Old Men, the vapid landscapes, the subtle violence, it’s all very Coen-esque and it gives the film a very similar mood to most Coen Brothers flicks. But I guess what I like most about this film is how thrilling it is despite the its lack of a proper narrative or dialogue. It makes great use of its minimalistic setting to deliver a beautifully dark story. The acting is also pretty excellent, I think the kids who played the two ten-year-olds were very good at well…being dumb ten-year-olds. I also think they were very believable as young kids, unlike that weird kid from Aloha who kept saying stuff you know ten-year olds wouldn’t say.
But I honestly loved Kevin Bacon’s performance the most, I think he did a fantastic job of acting despite the lack of dialogue and character development his character was given and he’s also able to showcase a wide-array of complexity in his performance which in my opinion elevates his performance even more. And I really liked Shea Whigham in this movie as well, most people will remember him for his small supporting roles in Silver Linings Playbook and Take Shelter as well as an integral one on Boardwalk Empire, he’s great here in another small but very important role that I don’t want to spoil for you. He shows up in the last thirty minutes and delivers the best monologue of the movie.
Cop Car is an indie gem that you shouldn’t miss out on. It’s a brilliant, sharply crafted thriller. Don’t waste your money on garbage like Fantastic Four, watch this instead.