Starring: Kevin Bacon, James Freedson-Jackson, Hays Wellford
Director: Jon Watts
Running Time: 87 mins
Cop Car is an American film about two young children who take a police car while out in the countryside, and the officer in question sets out to reclaim it.
This is a very dark and often unsettling thriller, with great performances across the board, and some good tension throughout. Although it’s not the most exhilarating thriller, with the first two acts taking a very long time to get going, it is still an impressive film nonetheless.
Let’s start with the performances. The two kids in this film are fantastic, and do a great job of making you believe in their innocence despite their taking the car, ultimately leaving them as the characters that you support because of their innocence, even though everything that happens in this film is entirely their fault.
Meanwhile, Kevin Bacon is very good as the police officer. Although it may feel like he sometimes doesn’t live up to the terrifying dark secret that the man is hiding, he’s still pretty intense to see on screen as he manipulates his fellow officers and the boys for his own means.
Now, the plot here is split into two clearly different parts. The first fifty minutes or so are about the pursuit between the kids and the cop, and they are, in truth, a little underwhelming. It’s still a little tense and unsettling, but it moves far too slowly to be really thrilling, and it doesn’t really capitalise on the really dark ideas brought in earlier on in the story, which was a little disappointing.
However, the climax was absolutely fantastic. Throwing a spanner into the works and completely altering the structure of the plot, this finale is extremely dark, action-packed and hugely exciting all together, and it keeps moving at a great pace with huge unpredictability throughout.
Finally, looking at this film from a stylistic point of view, it’s not the greatest thing you’ve ever seen, but there is still praise to be given. Whilst it may look relatively orthodox (excluding some of the longer takes that are pretty impressive), it’s the very subtle but slightly haunting score that plays throughout almost unnoticed that does play a big part in making it a more unnerving film to watch.
Overall, then, this gets a 7.7, because despite its slow-burning start, this film has great performances and ends with a bang, resulting in an ultimately exciting watch after all.