Cop Car: A Review by Nate Hill

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Cop Car is the sort of callous thriller that socks you right in the gut, then kicks you in the nuts before you’ve had a chance to grab a breath. It’s premise is simple: on the quiet plains of rural Colorado, two young lads wander about aimlessly, practicing their cuss words and trying to impress one another with various mischief. All of a sudden they stumble on a seemingly abandoned cop car in a secluded glen. What do they do? They do what any respectable, rational one of us would, of course. They steal the thing and careen about across the terrain, before taking off down the highway. It’s just their luck that the vehicle happens to belong to Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon) an evil son of a bitch who’s just about as far from the law as one can get. He was out there doing dark deeds in the bush, and arrives back to find his cruiser gone, reacting with an amusing fight or flight tantrum not unlike that of a cornered coyote. Bacon has a canine look to him as well, amplified by the fact that he’s in his late 50’s and is looking all brittle and scary as hell these days. He panics and goes on a mad yet calculated hunt to find the car before his dirty little secrets are flung about the county and his jig is up. Employing MacGyver worthy tricks, chilling cruelty and a bone rattling, hyena esque cackle, he hunts the two youngsters down relentlessly, and they elude him through sheer dumb luck. Speaking of dumb, the kids are remarkably stupid even for ten year olds, and it’s tough for the film to draw forth any sympathy from us by any means other than the fact that they are children, run disastrously amok. They’re forced not only to deal with Bacon, but a sleazeball who they find bloodied up in his trunk, played by the ever entertaining Shea Wigham. He has an exchange of dialogue with the boys that will seperate those with a dark, messed up sense of humour from those without, and I was laughing up a storm. The film reminded me of similarly vehicular themed thrillers like The Hitcher and Duel, and can certainly be put on that same pedestal of quality. Blood, burnt rubber, sweat and tears abound here, and what’s more, the thing makes sense in its turn of events. So many thrillers erupt into bombastic and unbelievable plot turns that serve shock value or simply exist to be a showcase piece for the trailer. This one gallops along a series of events that are stacked up like a nasty Jacob’s Ladder of fate, each step of the way a logical piece of the story, nothing brashly jumping at us or taking us out of the story. Admirable traits, not found too often these days. Watch for Camryn Manheim and an invisible Kyra Sedgwick as well. A lean, mean little flick, guaranteed to raise a pulse and steal a few well earned, guilty grins from you, as well as impress you with it’s competence in execution, and restraint in keeping things fast, to the point and mean to the core.

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