Cop Car Review
Most movies follow a chronological order that it never breaks from. Its story stays on a straight arrow, playing it safe, never retreating from its destination. But some movies like to throw curve balls. Some movies like to shake up what you know and what you think you know about a movie and trying something different entirely. There are so many movies that follow such a basic outline that it could possibly render the entire medium useless, but there are movies still being made that want to break those barriers, that still want to take a shot at something ambitious.
"Cop Car" isn't a deep movie, its not something that is Earth shattering. Its not something that will send its actors to an awards ceremonies, even though the film is packed with good performances. But it doesn't work like you think it will work. The movie does a good job playing with your expectations, you think you know how the movie will end up, then it begins with its curve balls, they aren't huge changes to the order of movies, but they made the experience different and fun. Sometimes that is all you need.
Two boys Harrison (Hays Wellford) and Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) are on an unsupervised pilgrimage through the mainlands of Colorado. They are having a good time with their unplanned freedom when they stumble upon a seemingly abandoned cop car. They start getting in it, looking around, pretending to drive it. When all of a sudden they find the car keys. This is every little boys wet dream to stumble upon a cop car, so of course they take the car for a spin. At first, "Cop Car" feels like a warped adventure movie between these two boys. The work by Freedson-Jackson and Wellford is stunningly superb. They may not be child actors everybody is familiar with, but they deliver in every single scene. They force the audience to buy into their urging adventure to take the cop car out on a spin.
Then we meet the officer it belongs to, Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon). Kretzer was not at his car because he was covering up a horrendous crime and when he goes back to his car to get something, he notices it is gone. What could have possibly happened? He decides to go get his car back. At this point you may think you have this one all figured out. You may think that this becomes thrilling cat-and-mouse game about how Kretzer gets his car back from the boys. For a long stretch of the movie, that is what happens. Even the movie itself had me stumped, acting as if I had already figured everything out. I don't know what has gotten into Kevin Bacon recently, but he's more alive than he's ever been lately than anything else in his entire career. He's a ball to watch in this, and whether you end up liking "Cop Car" or not, you'll certainly love the performance by Kevin Bacon. Easily one of his best performances in years. But as I sat on my couch watching, I couldn't help but keep thinking, is this it? Is this really what this adds up to be?
Turns out "Cop Car" is a movie where nobody is who they seem, and events will play out as if they are following the norms of the genre, but then your expectations will tweaked a bit. "Cop Car" is a fun little caper, a groovy little mystery. Like I said above, its not something completely special, buts much more entertaining than expected and much better than it had to be. Its a brilliant showcase of actors, and there are not a ton of characters in the movie, which makes the characters much easier to identify with. Heck, if it wasn't for the constantly shifting locations, "Cop Car" could have been an interesting stage play.
As the summer begins to slowly come to a close, you may end up liking the old-school yet unexpected charm of "Cop Car."
FINAL GRADE: B