When your two principal actors are just on the cusp of becoming teenagers, holding the attention of the audience can be a tall order. The first 15-20 minutes of Cop Car can be a little trying on one’s patience. The two young actors are initially a little low on both chemistry and charisma, and it really isn’t until the film’s supporting cast, including the irreplaceable Kevin Bacon, appear, that the film really starts to click on all levels, and boy does it click.
With Cop Car, Director Jon Watts is constantly walking the line between suspense and campy, and this makes it very hard to predict the unfolding events that take place in the film. It is a film that relies heavily on it’s audiences pre-conditioning to both genres of film, and is one that will having you laughing uncomfortably one minute, and nervously squirming in your seat the next. It’s a film that perhaps came 20 years too late, yet Cop Car still manages to provide an unbelievably intense experience.
The star of the show is, of course, Kevin Bacon. As his character is the main source of film’s campiness it is important that at no point does he ever push his audience too far. His lines were written with tongue firmly in cheek, but his over the top performance work in opposition to the nails on a chalkboard intensity of the film’s more suspenseful scenes. When we laugh, it’s probably because we are afraid of what he might do if we don’t. It’s hard to imagine this movie without Kevin Bacon, and honestly, there might not be a movie without Kevin Bacon.
It’s low budget feel, unpredictable premise, and sometimes campy feel may make it a hard sell at the box office but you should see this film. If it doesn’t seem like your thing yet you find yourself with an exhausted Netflix queue, and an itch for something to get your blood pumping, you should most certainly give Cop Car a try. It’s one unnerving, stress-inducing joyride, and once you’re buckled in, there’s nothing left but to see it through to the end.