My anticipation for Thunder Road skyrocketed when I heard the buzz about it at the London Film Festival last year, it was one of the main ones I was gutted I never got a chance to see so when it was announced as part of the programme for GFF I leapt at the chance of seeing it without any thought. Incredibly, it managed to surpass even my highest expectations. That is because Thunder Road is near excellence in indie filmmaking.
Based on the short film of the same name, Thunder Road is written, directed and stars Jim Cummings as a police officer in a smallish town whose life is falling down around him. His wife left him and is after sole custody of the child and his job is becoming harder and harder. This is all tipped over the edge with the death of his mother.
The film opens on her funeral as he gives simultaneously the worlds best and worst eulogy of his mother. One moment he’s crying his eyes out asking if he should go on, the next dead serious telling a hilarious story. It’s all filmed in one shot (as far as I can remember) and looks to be similar to the version in the short film.
The entire opening truly sets up the tonal rollercoaster that you’re in for when watching the film. This is something that the film manages to pull off with grace. There are multiple moments where your heart will burst for him and others where you’ll want to cringe out of your seat.
The film is practically a one-man show that demonstrates just how good at his job Cummings is. The man wrote a script with an incredible amount of heart, emotion and comedy. The dialogue feels real even in the moments of the characters somewhat insane moments. He is an incredibly fleshed out character who he also stunningly brings to life in an almost Michael Scott but in an existential crisis sort of way. He can switch personality during the meltdown at the drop of a hat and I’m not exaggerating. He blends the personality incredibly.
That’s not forgetting the importance of the supporting cast who are all just as good as Jim. Particularly from his daughter, Crystal, played by Kendal Farr who is a great wee actress and his best friend in the film Nate played by Nican Robinson.
It’s incredible to think that Jim Cummings had so much to do with the creation of this considering just how good he was in all the aspects he controlled. A brilliant script, performance and direction make the film a showcase for a man with endless amounts of talent. But, you should not forget the supporting actors around him either. All in all, this is a tremendously emotional and exceptionally funny feature that is verging on utterly excellent.
You can catch Thunder Road in UK cinemas May 3rd. Unfortunately, you missed your chance at Glasgow Film Festival. Tough luck.