Editor’s Note: The Phoenix Film Society hosted its inaugural Summer Showcase on August 10 – 13th. The third film in the series, Cop Car was released on August 7, 2015 in select markets.
As children we feel as if we’re invincible or that we can do no wrong. Without proper supervision, they can take their invincibility to the next level, with terrible consequences.
Jon Watts’ Cop Car is an exploration of innocence and its effect on random strangers. The movie opens up to two runaway kids, Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hays Wellford), who happen upon an apparently abandoned police cruiser. They decide to take a joy ride. When Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon) realizes what’s happened, he wants his car back.
The superb screenplay by Watts and Christopher D. Ford evoked classic coming-of-age movies like Stand by Me coupled with the cynicism of a Fargo-esque tale. Bacon, who also executive produced the movie has never been better. We know he is not perfect, but we don’t know why. The boys, wild abandon in their eyes are a nice counterbalance for each other and for Kretzer. Shea Whigham and Camryn Manheim round out a small, but brilliant cast.
The upper Colorado plains are exquisitely captured by Matthew J. Lloyd and Larkin Seiple. Long dolly shots really expose the beauty and dangers of the plains. Natural light is used to great benefit. The story felt as if we were watching events unfold in real time, a tribute to Megan Brooks and Andrew Hasse’s editing, while Phil Mossman’s score was playful.
Cop Car cynically reminds us to keep our innocence in check. For you never know who you’re going to run into.