Film Review: Cop Car (Jon Watts, 2015)

by Jason Suzuki

When watching Cop Car you figure that the beginning and the end were the first parts conceived for the film. Because you have a great premise and a climax that’s on the level of Coen Bros. in terms of its pacing and how it relays spatial information to the action. The starting point of two boys stealing the wrong cop’s car is going to lead up to what you would expect when all parties converge in the climax, and that climax is easily the standout sequence in the film, it’s best aspect that is not Kevin Bacon.

Because of the moments where the movie is so good, it makes you notice the sequences that don’t seem as thought out, where framing isn’t a carefully composed. The space between A and B is uneven. Bacon’s sheriff, who is trying figure how to get his car back while not alerting the suspicions of his fellow police officers to whatever he was doing to leave two bodies in his car’s trunk, is the most easily watchable moments of the film. The sequence with the two boys comes off as cheap, with too much being milked from kids holding guns, looking right in their barrels when they won’t shoot. When you see what the film does with the realities of a premise like this, it makes you wonder why these moments in between feel so shallow and just the motions to get the sheriff to the kids.

Bottom line, this is a perfect movie for kids. It’s about the adventures of two regular boys, encountering the evils of grown ups, and all done simply to achieve the most punch. Kevin Bacon’s murderous sheriff is the type of performance that is so fun to watch and is what usually happens with the villain character. It’s the type of film that you forgive it for its faults because you grew up on it. So parents, ignore that R rating and let your kids watch Cop Car.

Jason Suzuki is co-editor to Cinema Adrift.