The Films of Jon Watts
Cop Car (September 3/15)
Directed by Jon Watts, Cop Car follows a pair of aimless kids (James Freedson-Jackson's Travis and Hays Wellford's Harrison) as they stumble upon a police cruiser and subsequently take it on a joy ride - with the movie, past that point, detailing both their exploits as well as the efforts of the police officer (Kevin Bacon's Sheriff Kretzer) to whom the automobile belongs. Watts, along with coscreenwriter Christopher D. Ford, has infused the early part of Cop Car with a deliberate yet evocative sensibility, as the filmmaker effectively establishes the three central characters and the rural atmosphere within which they reside - with the watchable vibe heightened by the periodic inclusion of unexpectedly (and impressively) tense sequences (eg Sheriff Kretzer attempts to break into a car using just a shoelace). It does become increasingly clear, however, that Watts isn't quite able to maintain a consistent tone throughout, and there's little doubt, too, that the boys' naiveté becomes more and more difficult to swallow as the movie progresses. (It is, for example, easy enough to believe that a couple of kids would play inside a seemingly abandoned police car, but asking the viewer to swallow that they would also take it for a ride and play with the guns inside is beyond the pale.) And despite a brisk running time of 86 minutes, Cop Car isn't quite able to make it to the finish line without fizzling out to a rather palpable degree (ie the climax lacks the tension possessed within certain other preceding sequences) - with the movie nevertheless worth a look almost solely due to Bacon's incredibly ingratiating, entertaining performance.