Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fantasia 2015 Film Review - Cop Car

Two 10-year-old boys Travis (James Freeson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hayes Welford) are walking though farmland on the outskirts of town having decided to run away from home. They are armed with walking sticks and believe that they must have gotten 10 miles away by now as they maneuver through a barbed wire fence between properties.  After listening to their conversation for a short period of time it's obvious that Travis is the instigator and Harrison the more reserved thinker of the pair.  As they continue their walk they come across a Cop Car sitting parked on a dirt road. Immediately they drop to the ground and hide, then take turns running up and touching it. When they realize that the car appears to be abandoned they try all the doors finding the driver's side open and the keys under the visor. The boys start the car and gingerly roll away.

A short time earlier Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon) drives to a remote area outside of town and parks his cop car. He finishes his beer and puts it on the hood. Next he takes off his gun belt, strips down to his undershirt, removes a tarp and goes to the trunk. Kretzer removes a body then drags it through the trees to an abandon well. When he heads back to his vehicle he finds it gone.

Director and co-writer Jon Watts builds an imaginative tale from a simple premise along with his writing partner Christopher Ford.  Two curious kids find an abandoned police car, take it for a joy ride and explore with fresh young eyes and minds all that the car can offer.  The flip side, the car belongs to someone, they will want it back and what are the potential consequences of the boys actions. The  expansive and flat Colorado shooting location allowed the crew to employ several long and wide shots that are used very effectively to gradually build suspense the moment anything of interest entered the frame.

The two young leads James Freeson-Jackson and Hayes Welford turn in veteran level performances. When a decision is needed they discuss each give an opinion then they proceed on a united front.  The pair are genuinely wide eyed as investigate all of the equipment in the car and are thankfully aided by great sense of timing in the script when fiddling with dangerous ones. Kevin Bacon physical nuanced performance is impressive. He has only a handful of words for first 20 minutes he's on screen. Bacon uses his eyes, gestures, grunts, moans and curse words to get Sheriff Kertzer across to the audience.

Cop Car is an uncomplicated story that brings the viewer to the spot where three people intersect on a  particular day. Refreshingly there is no obligatory flashback to explain why the boys had run away or why Sheriff Kertzer is out in a remote area off the grid using his cruiser to do things that he ought not to be doing. It's a well acted and written film that I can recommend.

*** Out of 4

Cop Car | John Watts |  U.S.A. | 2015 | 86 Minutes.

Tags: 10-year-olds, Joy Ride, Rural, Police, Runaway, Guns, Shootout, Cocaine, Body.

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