Edinburgh International Film Festival

Cop Car (2015)

Starring: Kevin Bacon, James Freedson-Jackson, Hays Wellford, Shea Whigham, Camryn Manheimv

Directed by: Jon Watts

Rating: 1 2 3 4

Kevin Bacon in Cop CarBack in the day, that guy in the mobile network ads used to be a pretty good actor. Well, the good news is, Bacon's back, in delicious dark comedy Cop Car.

Travis and Harrison, c. 10 years old, are on an adventure. True, they only have one licorice lace between them for sustenance, and their ascertation that they've walked 'fifty miles' that day seems unlikely. But, buoyed up with the enthusiasm of youth, they're determined to have fun. And when they find a seemingly abandoned cop car - with its keys! - in the middle of a field, they think all their Christmases have come at once.

Meanwhile, the local sheriff (Bacon) is having the polar opposite of a good day. It's hot, he's got dead bodies to dispose of, and now, to top it all, his car's gone awol. And what has he left in the trunk...?

I loved this bittersweet, laugh out loud funny, thrilling, moving film. Like a Stand By Me style coming of age tale told by the Coen brothers, its childlike humour makes the sudden bouts of bloody violence that occur all the more shocking.

The performances of the two young leads, James Freedson-Jackson and Hays Wellford, are marvellous, always utterly credible. Their casual mix of naivete and bravado and gleeful embrace of danger is as charming as it's tension-making, whether they're begging a blood-streaked criminal not to 'tell on them' or squinting down the barrel of a gun that 'doesn't work'.

Kevin Bacon's presence is a delight, perfectly balancing comic, manic energy with steely nastiness, while Shea Wigham (the aforementioned criminal) is marvellously deranged.

Clever, involving and beautifully paced and economically edited, Cop Car is a real treat. Should you go see it? It's a no-brainer...

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