Review: Thunder Road
Runtime: 90 Mins Year: 2018 Certification: 15 Platform: Netflix (or rent on Amazon Prime for £1.99)
I was introduced to a 12 minute short film, which was uploaded to vimeo in 2016, by a friend last year. The short is set in a church during a funeral and involves the son of the deceased getting up and saying a few words as many would on such an occasion. The man, dressed in his police uniform, gradually breaks down during the speech and eventually sings and dances to his mums favourite song "Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen. Both bizarre and yet heartbreaking to watch, it is shot in one take with the camera slowly tracking forward until the police officer dominates the screen, alone and vulnerable.
Writer, director and star, Jim Cummings, wrote it in two months during his commute and sold his wedding ring in order to fund it. The short is available to watch via this link; https://vimeo.com/174957219
Two years and a kickstarter page later and we have this wonderfully compelling microbudget feature film of the same name and having been sucked in by the performance of the above mentioned short I simply couldn't give this a miss.
Feeling like an extension on the short, with the film opening with essentially a repeat of the 12 minute film, we get an insight of officer Jim Arnaud's life, played by Jim Cummings, getting to witness him attempt to cope with the loss of his mother while he battles to connect with his young daughter before he loses her to his ex wife who is trying to gain full custody.
It is clear to me the message Jim Cummings is trying to get across here is the fragility of a man's mind when being tested to the limit. Watching his highly realistic breakdowns on screen as his world crumbles around him can make for a difficult viewing but this well written, and performed, piece is certainly powerful in its message.
Seeing it categorised as a Comedy/Drama seems like an over simplification as, rather then the film dipping into both genres, it balances on a tightrope between the two leading to spending most of the film wondering whether the intent is for you to feel laughter or sadness but one thing you will be sure of is that you are watching a certain masterpiece.