Thunder Road (2018)



It was worth a shot. This oddball indie film is a tour de force by writer, director and star Jim Cummings. I enjoyed the ride and only felt let down by its denouement that seems to undermine the realities of family violence.

Officer Jim Arnaud (Cummings) is giving the eulogy in front of his mother’s coffin. In an extended monologue, we can see that he is emotionally vulnerable and has difficulties with social boundaries. Everyone seems slightly embarrassed, including his ex wife Morgan (Chelsea Edmundson) and bemused daughter Crystal (Kendal Farr).

His erratic behaviour leaks into his work and personal life. He is quick to talk about the commendations he has received but can’t seem to contain his anger. As observers, we are aware of his tightly-held delusions about himself, beautifully described in a scene with Crystal’s primary school teacher. His male friends, in particular fellow officer Nate Lewis ( Nican Robinson), can see it and tries to help without ever really openly acknowledging it.

For me, this seems to be a depiction of the struggle of men to cope with trauma without being able to be vulnerable. Arnaud is all bottled rage trying hard to be a good dad, a good cop. You can imagine the anger and unacknowledged violence that might have caused the breakdown of his marriage or that may have permeated his exemplary service as a police officer.

I was waiting for a sub-text or an ending that would show that this guy is no hero, that the quirky, whimsical well-meaning bloke we are being shown is just a facade that stops people from intervening when a family is at risk. It was not to be and it left me wondering what the point of the movie was.

Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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