MOVIE REVIEW: “Thunder Road” stars Jim Cummings (Greener Grass, 13 Cameras), Kendal Farr (Sanitatum, Playing God), Nican Robinson (The Filth [TV series], The Daylong Brothers), Jocelyn DeBoer (Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, Greener Grass), Chelsea Edmundson (Midnight Texas [TV series], The Black String), Macon Blair (Blue Ruin, Green Room), Ammie Masterson (Better Call Saul [TV series], Why Me?), and Bill Wise (Waves, iZombie [TV series]). It is written and directed by Jim Cummings. After the death of his mother, Officer Jim Arnaud (Cummings) struggles to keep his cool when he is suddenly thrusted into a custody battle for his child.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve reviewed something. Needless to say, my month of September has been spent either working or watching “Tenet” (which I have now seen three times [to which I then say that it is not necessary to see it three times]). Finally, I’m back with a new review, this one being for a much smaller release. A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast episode of Film Riot where they brought on filmmaker Jim Cummings to talk about the success of his indie flick “Thunder Road.” Not only did the man write, direct, star, and produce it, but he also distributed it to where he garnered some traction and got funding to make another film. It’s truly an inspiring story, one that invigorates me in my own craft; because of this, I thought it’d only be fitting to watch the movie and take notes. Little did I know how insane “Thunder Road” would be. A bizarre comedy rooted in its depressing story, “Thunder Road” is a slow spiral into madness of one Officer Jim Arnaud, whose life comes crashing around him. His mom just passed away, his wife is divorcing him, and the custody of his daughter is brought into question. Arnaud himself is an oddball character. Cummings portrays this man as someone who has fluxuating emotions/behavior. The guy is pretty bipolar, often breaking down into tears only to snap into stern anger. It’s quite funny, and I found myself laughing throughout this strange journey. I had no idea what I was getting into, and sure enough there’s a lot to behold. Cummings’ story is an interwoven thread of quirky dialogue, emotional breakdown sequences, and several story elements that are repeated/referenced to as the plot develops. Really, it’s a series of moments, hindered on Officer Arnaud’s struggle to keep himself together. And boy has Cummings craft a fun character. His dilemma makes for interesting drama on top of the humor, and I found myself entertained throughout the duration of the film. It’s a quick story as well, gliding through an easy hour and thirty minutes of runtime. All in all, “Thunder Road” is a solid piece of cinema with a tightly-wound narrative, good performances, and a funny leading character. It’s not for everyone, mind you. Often I found myself questioning if I should laugh or not. The comedy is dark as is the subject matter, and the way it is handled is very much nonconventional. But there is quite a bit to gleam from this in terms of the comedy genre and indie filmmaking as a whole. The story is to-the-point and the humor is complex. There were some elements that I would’ve appreciated further development (such as Arnaud’s ex-wife), but at the end of the day, what Cummings did deserves a pat on the back. “Thunder Road” is a fun, small feature with a lot of heart poured into its material. If you are intrigued by the trailer below, I’d say check it out. FINAL SCORE: 88%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: