Thunder Road is one of those films that successfully combines drama and humour so well, even if the premise is devastating for its main protagonist. After its screening at the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, the movie perfectly showcases the filmmaker Jim Cummings’ talent as a director, writer and actor, which means he’s a triple threat. Based on the short film with the same name that he made a few years ago, Cummings plays a police officer named Jim Arnaud who is struggling to keep it together after his mother’s death, and has to take care of his daughter Crystal (Kendal Farr), while also dealing with his ex-wife Rosalind (Jocelyn DeBoer). So much is happening in his life that the audience will relate to at some point.
The movie immediately starts off really strong with a one-take sequence that showcases Cummings’ performance, and you instantly get Arnaud’s point-of-view of the situation he’s dealing with. Jim Cummings is absolutely great as the lead character, and this really feels like an outstanding one-man-show from the filmmaker/actor. He knows when to be dramatic and funny, without ever feeling like he’s over-acting in some scenes. It takes a lot of acting skills to show some powerful emotions on screen, and that’s something you have to praise Cummings for. You feel really bad for him, which makes him a relatable and likeable character. Whenever he speaks, he’s able to grab your attention and make the movie a lot more interesting. As the director and screenwriter, he knows the story and the characters more than anyone, so he has an idea of how each scene will serve its overall purpose to the film.
Thunder Road will make you both laugh and cry, which sounds like an odd combination, but it totally works. It is a tragicomedy, and it’s a genre that you might not be that familiar with. There are some hysterical moments that will make you laugh so hard, yet there are also some heartfelt and devastating scenes that will undeniably make you weep. It’s hard to balance humour and drama, but Jim Cummings shows us that it’s possible to do so as long as the script’s dialogue and pacing are well-balanced with one another. He takes his time setting up jokes and sentimental moments, without ever making the movie feel disjointed. That takes a lot of work, and he does it like a champ.
This film truly feels like a passion project from Jim Cummings, and the result is highly satisfactory. Thunder Road is an outstanding one-man-show about a cop trying to cope with the death of his mother, while also dealing with his personal family issues. You will laugh and cry, and that’s what a tragicomedy should do. Cummings is a filmmaker that many moviegoers should look out for, as he has a bright future ahead of him. Thunder Road is not only one of the best films from the festival, but also a fantastic movie on its own. It is definitely worth seeing!