Focus World
Reviewed by: Harvey Karten for Shockya. Databased on Rotten Tomatoes.
Grade:  C
Director: Jon Watts
Screenwriter:Jon Watts, Christopher Ford
Cast:  Kevin Bacon, James Fredson-Jackson, Hays Wellfod, Camryn Manheim, Shea Whigham
Screened at: Review 1, NYC, 5/11/15
Opens:  August 2015

No doubt some critics and audience members will be show their smarts by saying the “Cop Car” combines Steven Spielberg with Sam Peckinpah, and while there are elements of the two great directors in Jon Watts’ movie, the show is difficult viewing unless you like seeing repetitive scenes of ten-year-olds playing with guns, a rogue sheriff who continually tries to show that he’s on the side of the brats, and a bound and bloodied criminal who shows little gratitude when he’s released from bondage.  This film is up the director’s alley.  Though Jon Watts is primarily a TV movie writer and director, his “Clown” in 2014 deals with a dad who buys his son a clown outfit only to be horrified that putting it on turns the wearer into a killer.

Our first clue that Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon) has gone rogue occurs in a single scene in which he sniffs a fistful of cocaine—though by the time “Cop Car” opens in the States, Colorado may have already legalized Coke for both medicinal and recreational purposes.  As for the ten-year-olds Travis (James Freeson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hays Wellford), they’re the sorts of best friends that are virtually conjoined. They would do anything for each other: in fact they open the scene in a vast Colorado field playing “dirty words” they we in our own youths played “Geography.”  Interestingly Harrison, the long-haired, more rotund fellow refuses to say the “f” word when Travis challenges him to do so, which tells us in the audience that the boys do not completely duplicate each other.

Nonetheless the kids are equally naïve as they play with the guns that the sheriff left in his open car. What’s more, though other pictures may have shown pre-pubes driving a car on a deserted street perhaps with the permission of dad, these tykes take the vehicle up to seventy miles an hour.  Those of us who live in the coastal areas may wonder how the production company managed to take all other vehicles off the road, but it just may be that Colorado is not New York or L.A. and is an ideal place to test your 0-100 Beemer.

After the bound criminal (Shea Whigham) is released, the film heads into the territory of the aforementioned Sam Peckinpah, but too many of the previous mdinutes have already been taken up with inane, kiddie chatter.

Rated R.  86 minutes.  © Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online

Story – C
Acting – B-
Technical – B-
Overall – C+


By Harvey Karten

Harvey Karten is the founder of the The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) an organization composed of Internet film critics based in New York City. The group meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *