Cop Car Screen 8 articles

Cop Car


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  • The most thrilling scene in Cop Car is a prolonged moment in which Kretzer fastidiously attempts to pull an old jalopy's door lock up with a looped shoe lace. This scene would serve as a perfunctory setup for a car chase in many thrillers, but here it's a self-contained vignette in its own right... Cop Car is a suggestive, elegantly streamlined genre film, and Watts clearly has talent, but it could use more of these moments of cracked, nitty-gritty chaos.

  • There’s not enough personal style or soul in “Cop Car” to make it Tarantinoesque or even Coenesque, and not enough wit or joie de vivre either. It’s an extremely well-lubricated entertainment machine filled with attractive images and wall-to-wall appealing performances, including from Camryn Manheim and Shea Whigham, an invaluable player.

  • Watts isn’t frivolous under the circumstances he’s concocted. There are consequences, but they seem disproportionately cruel. He doesn’t know what to do with the mess he’s put these kids in or what it means for them to be there.

  • For the most part, however, this is what a b-movie should be: lean, mean, and filled with just enough longueurs to be evocative without slowing the pace... By not getting bogged down in exposition, Cop Car prioritizes its physical inertia, using its minimal structure to add a greater sense of catharsis to a simple, if grisly, conclusion.

  • Cop Car premiered at Sundance as a midnight movie, but it’s the kind of film that plays best in the open air in early evening, with a breeze nipping at your ears. It’s an ideal drive-in movie.

  • For all its ghoulish black humor, Cop Car never quite revs up past about third gear. There are a couple of mildly clever and/or startling twists, but the film’s screenplay is more a series of consecutive incidents than a tightening vise, and its final scene trails off in a way that suggests nobody ever managed to think up an ending. But Watts demonstrates a sadistic patience that’s refreshing, especially compared to the usual blockbuster breathlessness.

  • The film never feels manipulative, and that’s a testament both to the economical script (written by Watts and Christopher D. Ford) and to the direction. Watts is fond of long vistas, wide shots that take in the landscape around these characters, which creates a sense of both grandeur and insignificance even as it lends some humor. There’s something mythic about the story unfolding before us, but the film avoids self-importance.

  • Cop Car impressively feeds off a sizable chunk of the generic spectrum. Watts is a highly focused multitasker: He cleverly tweaks each genre all the way through the film. Thanks largely to the handiwork of editors Megan Brooks and Andrew Hasse, the interwoven moods and styles come off as credible, and as seamless or self-consciously prominent as the filmmaker desires.

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