In Cop Car we follow two young best friends who are in the process of running away from home. There's the alpha Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and the beta Harrison (Hays Wellford), but they're not quite as one-dimensional as that, the two young actors actually do a good job with their rambunctious and inquisitive characters. As they're meandering through the scrub, they happen upon a cop car, and upon a tentative inspection they realize that it's an abandoned cop car that's theirs for the taking. Little do these naive boys know that the corrupt Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon) was just off doing some 'business' in the scrub as they stole his cop car along with some very incriminating evidence of his.
Sheriff Kretzer sets out to reclaim his cop car and his incriminating property as the boys are totally oblivious as to what they've inadvertently gotten themselves mixed up in. Kevin Bacon was clearly having a lot of fun with the role of Sheriff Kretzer as he carries a significant portion of the movie by himself, all with very little dialogue. Cop Car was probably split 50/50 between Kevin Bacon and the two boys, they rarely share any scenes together and so the movie often switches from the Sheriff's perspective to the boys and vice versa, but it works.
Cop Car is a coming of age tale, and it reminded me of Slow West a lot, what with the loss of innocence, the quirky vibe, and all the wide panoramic shots of the barren landscape. I liked the wide-eyed innocence and thought process that the boys saw the world through, like worrying about their fingerprints being taken off a rock, silly things like that, but it seemed sincere coming from boys who wouldn't know any better. Cop Car probably sounds a lot like a bleak drama, but it's surprisingly funny, if you're idea of funny is watching ten year old boys recklessly tearing around in a cop car, watching the boys trying to make some guns work as they look perplexingly down the barrel of a semi-automatic firearm, things like that might not appeal to everyone, but I got a few good laughs. The aesthetics of Cop Car is very rustic and is full of a lot of beautiful but indifferent panoramic scenery, similar to Slow West, both had a disappointingly short running time too.
So I liked the very short, but fun journey of self-discovery that the kids went through as they tried to one up each other along the way, as kids will often do. I also liked Kevin Bacon as the Sheriff, but Cop Car never really could build up, or more importantly, maintain any real sense of suspense or dread as the two narratives were inevitably going to meet again. I thought the movie lost a bit of focus in the middle and the editing left a bit to be desired as well, but the camerawork was nice and smooth most of the time, I like that. Cop Car is a bit of a patchwork of a movie, I could see influences like The Counselor, No Country for Old Men and Slow West in it, not that that's a bad thing, but it lacked the tension and momentum that those movies had. It definitely had its moments and its charms, mostly coming from the two boys experiences, but I was admittedly dissatisfied with the ending. I still think it's worth a watch though.
Written by - The Sentry - 15/08/2015