Thunder Road

Jim Cummings writes, directs and stars in this wild and heartfelt story of a cop who goes into a tailspin following the death of his mother

Film Review by Alex Barrett | 19 Feb 2019
  • Thunder Road
Film title: Thunder Road
Director: Jim Cummings
Starring: Jim Cummings, Kendal Farr, Nican Robinson, Macon Blair, Jocelyn DeBoer, Chelsea Edmundson, Jordan Fox
Release date: 31 May
Certificate: 15

Expanded from a 2016 Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning short film, writer-director Jim Cummings' Thunder Road follows the downward spiral of Police Officer Jim Arnaud (Cummings himself) as he navigates a messy divorce while grieving for his recently departed mother. Like its forerunner, the feature arrives in the UK with accolades, notably the SxSW Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Feature – and rightly so. From its opening scene, essentially a remake of the original short in which Arnaud delivers his mother's eulogy, Thunder Road is thoroughly engrossing, deftly mixing pathos and humour in equal measure.

Such a careful balance of comedy and tragedy requires a sure hand, and Cummings acquits himself with extreme skill as writer, director and performer. Filmed in striking long takes, Cummings elevates his material through superb technical craftsmanship, while never losing sight of the emotions that underpin his story. In exploring Arnaud's struggles, both as a policeman and as a father, the film builds a penetrating study of grief, loss and mental breakdown that isn't easily forgotten.

Released 31 May by Vertigo; certificate 15