Thunder Road ⭐⭐⭐⭐
OPINION & WRITING BY TONY FRAME. FEATURED IMAGE COURTESY OF IMDB.
Jim Cummings impressively writes, directs and takes the lead role in his low-key and heart-warming story about a man struggling to cope with the death of his mother whilst facing divorce from his estranged wife and the possibility of losing custody of his daughter.
From the outset it feels like an indie film from the 90s – an era when indie cinema was probably at its strongest with the quality of films that it produced, when films were rich in emotion with well-written characters and stories that sung to the soul.
The opening scene is testament to the aforementioned era with Cummings giving a speech at his mother’s funeral – the shot is long, with no cuts, and slowly zooms into him as he recites memories about his mother and gives a hilarious and cringe-worthy re-enactment of Bruce Springfield’s Thunder Road (cue the title).
The film has some nice moments throughout – particularly in the scenes when Cummings is trying to bond with his daughter early on. His performance as a police officer in a small town, on the brink of having a nervous breakdown, is likeable and enigmatic at times and he doesn’t let his character’s profession bog down the script too much as is sometimes the case in films of a similar nature.
The supporting actors are well cast and the world they live in and their relationships to one another feel genuine and real and help add to some of the character arcs within the story. The latter part of the film has a few surprises and the running time of 92 minutes is spot on; the film never drags scenes on for too long and moves at a steady pace.
Whilst it’s not the start of Jim Cummings’ career, Thunder Road will certainly elevate his worth as a film-maker (and an actor) and I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.