Cop Car is a thriller directed by Jon Watts as a sheriff chases down two young kids who stole his squad car for a joy ride, the film stars Kevin Bacon, James Freedson-Jackson, Hays Wellford, Kyra Sedgwick.
The set up is there and it’s an interesting one with a sort of initial mystery over sheriff Kretzers (Kevin Bacon) cop car and his behaviour, we don’t know a thing about him or what he’s done but we know he’s desperate to get back his car which is reasonable for any normal person but he seems to have a special reason for wanting his car back, meanwhile two kids, friends of different personalities find and steal the sheriffs car.
This kicks off the plot as the kids take the car on a ride to nowhere in particular which is a bit of a logical stretch to believe I have to say as the kids are both like 11? But that aside, the interesting thing about the story is the mystery around the sheriff and the cars contents but there’s also some decent drama here as the two friends, Travis and Harrison relate to each other and bond along their joyride, their performances are serviceable, though nothing amazing. Kevin Bacon brings his pedigree and has great screen presence but doesn’t get to do too much with a character that isn’t really that fleshed out which was a shame, though he does make for a a good morally questionable character.
The problem with Cop Car is that it’s just not very compelling and the lack of story is a pretty big thing, it’s a thriller with a great set up but as things go on, it just sort of flounders and doesn’t quite manage its tension consistently, you fear for the two kids and you know they’re in trouble to some degree but things just don’t really feel that tense oddly enough. Maybe due to the way plot events are so far spaced out that tension gets spread out across plot events and because there’s a distinct lack of atmosphere which really didn’t help the film, that being said when things do get going much later in the film, it’s interesting to watch but this far too late in the plot to make any meaningful impact. And while the mystery related to the sheriffs car is still present, its importance is sort of downplayed as events take a different turn, diffusing any interest in that side of the story and that was a missed trick I feel.
And with no cutting edge to the plot or enough time spent with the kids to really have you engage with them, the conclusion just sort of peters out in a pretty anti-climactic way, a rather lackluster way to wrap up a film that had promise but didn’t quite explore it more interesting components.
. Interesting premise and set up
. Lack of atmosphere, diffuses tension
. Could have used better characterization with the sheriff, felt a bit one sided