Every once and awhile comes a low-budget thriller that takes its cues from the classic film noirs of cinema. Cop Car could very well take a place in the pantheon of such espionage.
Cop Car will appear and be gone at the blink of an eye, but you want to see this film on the big screen and be immersed in its coolness. Cop Car plays one time this Saturday, August 8, at the Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park. A continuing engagement finds Cop Car at the AMC First Colony in a regular, albeit exclusive engagement, starting Friday, August 14.
Cop Car reminded me of Joy Ride (2001) as well as Breakdown (1997), each a quietly executed film in the genre of tension. A couple of grade school, if even that, kids steal a sheriff’s car that they find in the desolate woods of the small Colorado town where they live.
Turns out that the officer (Kevin Bacon) was off in the woods laying to waste a victim of his misdeeds. Bacon comes back to the scene, realizes his cop car has been booted and proceeds to stalk the kids.
Bacon contacts the kids on their police radio but only after he has diverted the rest of the officers on duty onto radio frequencies using another channel. Another tense scene has Bacon breaking into a car using primitive tools, subterfuge, and stealth, and a clicking clock to achieve his goal.
Deceit is the name of the game as the kids and Bacon interact with unfortunate witnesses like Bev (Camryn Manheim) in addition to Man (Shea Whigham), who has something to do with the first victim, and the vast desolation of the countryside they find themselves at when the titular vehicle comes to a halt.
I don’t mean to sound too effusive in my praise for Cop Car but it delivered in every wave of its narrative.
— Michael Bergeron