“Just because somebody chooses to leave, that doesn’t mean they didn’t want to be here with you”Review by Lewis Goodall
Passion. Something that is seriously lacking in Hollywood these days. I’ve expressed it before but pretty I really don’t support most of what is being churned out these days. You’ve got your remakes which no one asked for, you’ve got your Fast and Furious’ that are ridiculous and most sickeningly you have your Marvel films that all go by the same format just with a different skin. What’s lacking is passion, that passion that resonates in a story that is being told from the heart that just adds that new layer to cinema that is missing from the tripe I mentioned before. Thunder Road is the perfect example of passion.
Thunder Road is written, directed and performed by Jim Cummings who plays…. Jim. Jim is a policeman who’s mun recently passed away. Her funeral is the start of his downward spiral as he struggles with his job and broken family life. It’s a tale of a sad man which yes can be pretty cliche but it feels fresh when it’s done with effort like this… can you tell I really like this film yet?
Indie films are just leagues above over films and I’ll debate that to the very end. Yes the mainstream does pump out great films, prime example was my film of the year last year, Joker, fantastic film. So yeah mainstream does pump out incredible films like that every once and a while but I always feel that with indie films theres more heart in it. You can tell that they have more soul, two recent examples are ‘Mid 90’s’ and ‘Eighth Grade’ and I feel that ‘Thunder Road’ fits into that category nicely. Jim Cummings is a tour de force, jack of all trades because he did everything for this film (except boom operator, but I bet he would do that good well too). He wrote, directed and performed this film, he pumps life into every aspect and does it superbly.
The first 10 minutes of this film is Jim performing a eulogy for his mums funeral. I really don’t want to give anything away but this first ten minutes is a perfect introduction to really show off Jim in these 3 aspects. 1. Writing, the writing in this eulogy is incredible as he is tallig about his mum, telling a story of how connected to his mum was through childhood stories. 2. Performance, he smashes it, he truly shows a man that is clearly broken but is trying his hardest to pack down his emotions and stay strong. Everynow and then he will crack and burst into tears and then instantly try and collect himself which felt so real. I sympathised with Jim just cause he clearly just lost the biggest part of his life and you can see how much it crushes him. 3. Directing, this first 10 minutes, is all one take… I LOVE A ONE TAKE!! He is doing this eulogy for ten straight minutes as the camera slowly zooms in closer and closer to his face, and then slowly brings it back and it just emphasised every movement he did.
These 3 aspects stay consistently great throughout the rest of the film. Another thing to mention in terms of the writing is the humour sprinkled in like water on a flower bed, cute metaphor huh? So this film is a tragedy-comedy, probably leans more towards the tragedy side of things but the comedy is definitely there. There were a few moments that made me laugh out loud, whether it was within the performance or what Jim said but it was a great amount to split up the parts of the film that are the tragedies.
Obviously Jim isnt the only character in the film, there are plenty others but one I want to mention is his daughter as I feel she plays the most important cog that keeps his life together. His daughter is one who does prefer the company of her mum who lives across town. She doesnt really like staying at home but Jim does his very best to be the best dad for her and it’s the most endearing portrayal of a dad I have seen on screen for a while. One part I found so sweet I had to pause it to let it sink in (I’m not going to say because you have to watch it). Which again is all credit to Jim, real life Jim and his ability to effectively show his story. There are just some many tiny scenes that have way more effort in there that wont get noticed, for example, there is a scene in which two characters fight in a puddle. Now this doesnt sound oscar worthy but it’s another long take, alot happens in this scene so if they had to start again, they wouldve had to of changed clothes, set it all up again, its just small behind the scenes stuff like they that I love and that’s the sort of effort is needed.
Overall I’m very very fond of this film. I probably would say that maybe at times there feels like there is a lot of tragedy that happens throughout the film which may put people off but honestly it’s all worth it, that’s all I’m saying. Its these sorts of films that need to be made more, the sort of films where people actually want to tell a story rather than Marvel that just finds another way to juice the audience with the same crap every 6 months. I know Disney wouldnt make as much money but maybe they could add a few more moustached fathers, that’s all I’m saying.