Starring: Jim Cummings, Jocelyn DeBoer, Nican Robinson
Director: Jim Cummings
Running Time: 90 mins
Thunder Road is an American film about a small town police officer who finds himself spiralling into an emotional breakdown after the death of his mother and his increasingly problematic divorce.
As genuine, heartfelt and moving as you can possibly imagine, Thunder Road is a stunning demonstration of the power of independent cinema, and for what it lacks in budget, it absolutely makes up for in riveting drama, engrossing characters, brilliant humour and a great heart throughout.
There’s so much that makes Thunder Road the perfect indie hit, and while it works just as well as a quirky indie comedy, it’s the unexpectedly brilliant dramatic depth that really makes it such a great watch, impressing with touching and challenging emotional drama from beginning to end.
Following the struggles of a man in the midst of a turbulent period in his life, the film isn’t afraid to show off his own flaws and mistakes in trying to overcome his many difficult challenges in life. However, in that, we’re able to connect with a character who’s vulnerable and clearly human, and rather than the film playing out as a melancholic, self-pitying descent into depression, it’s just as much of a character study as it is a look at emotional turmoil.
Jim Cummings’ performance in the lead role is fantastic, and in tandem with his fantastic humour and comedic presence, he gives a brilliantly genuine performance that shows his character as a flawed, frustrated man just trying to grapple with an ever-worsening situation. And thanks to him and that humanity, the drama is deeply relatable from beginning to end.
From the deliberately awkward opening sequence to the hard-hitting finale, Thunder Road is an incredible rollercoaster of emotions, featuring amazingly powerful depth and insight as it takes on the story of an ordinary man and what may be considered fairly ordinary problems.
However, as we learn over the course of the story, even the most seemingly typical issues in life can be overwhelming, and with such relatable depth throughout, Thunder Road pulls you in to sympathise entirely with the struggles of its lead character, grabbing you spectacularly as the emotion continues to intensify towards the finish.
But once again, it’s not an overly melancholic, melodramatic watch. While its drama is sobering and hard-hitting at times, the film’s immense heart strikes a perfect balance between heavy emotion and relatable, touching drama. Couple that with quirky, charismatic humour throughout, and Thunder Road is a wonderful watch that’s just as entertaining as it is powerful.
And having been made on a budget of just $200,000, it’s films like this that prove a story with a big heart and a genuine, relatable approach to real-world problems can always provide a brilliant watch, no matter how small-scale they are, and that’s why I’m giving Thunder Road a 7.8 overall.