In 2016, actor, writer, and director Jim Cummings (“Brothers”, “The Robbery”) released a 13-minute short movie about police officer Jimmy Arnaud who’s holding a eulogy for his dead mother.
“Thunder Road”, which name was based on the Bruce Springsteen song, was praised by both critics and fans and after showing it at prestigious film festivals such as Sundance Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, and Chicago International Film Festival, Cummings decided to use it as the foundation for his latest movie “Thunder Road”.
Just like the short picture, this full-length feature film turned out to be an immensely funny, witty but also dark and serious one with Cummings giving an extraordinary performance.
Certainly, every film has one scene that’s superior to others but little did we know that that scene would the very beginning of this film. It’s been ages since we had seen such an entertaining and lively but also disturbing and sad opening scene like the one in “Thunder Road”.
It completely sets the tone for the entire film. Beautifully made (congratulations to the team for that long, crafty and delightful continuous shot) and emotionally compelling.
Despite being overwhelmed by grief and sadness, Jimmy Arnaud (Jim Cummings) wants to honour his deceased mother in the best way possible: By giving a eulogy. However, it doesn’t go as planned and he’s being publicly humiliated.
Luck is not on Jimmy’s side as the relationship with his daughter Crystal (Kendal Farr) is being tested and the divorce with his estranged wife (Jocelyn DeBoer) is imminent. How long will Jimmy be able to stand up before crumbling down completely?
After watching “Thunder Road”, you realize that’s something you’ve never seen before (well, apart from if you’ve seen the short film). That dancing scene during which Jimmy is trying to pay a tribute to his mother via his daughter’s pink toy boombox is just out of this world.
It’s being brought to screen relatively simple (or at least it seems like that) with just one camera focusing on the leading character. The closer the camera gets, the more the emotions are increasing. Yes, there’s room for violence, guns, and explosions but “Thunder Road” is mostly an intense and captivating film in which emotions and exceptional acting performances are key.
Emotions can be done in a totally right or completely wrong way. They can be under delivered or can be over the top and can ruin the whole film. However, despite the fact that the emotions in “Thunder Road” are incredibly bombastic, it’s exactly that what makes from “Thunder Road” such a great film.
Jim Cummings takes you from one side of the emotional spectrum to the other in no time. You’re exactly feeling what his character is feeling. Deep down you see a man that never became a real man, despite his status and important job.
Jim’s daughter is being portrayed by the wonderful Kendal Farr (“Sanitatum”, “Pyramid Circle”) who puts on mature performance as Crystal, ready for adulthood but still the playful and innocent child. Jocelyn DeBoer (“The Arrival”, “Buzz”) is marvellous as Rosalind Arnaud, who’s clearly fed up with her irresponsible and childish (ex)-husband.
After screening at the BFI Film Festival last year, “Thunder Road” is coming back to the UK. If you have seen the original short film, then you know what to expect. If you haven’t, well, it’s a superb film that will make laugh, cry and it will give you an amazing time. Pretty sure you will remember that openings scene for a long time coming. So what are you waiting for?