Thunder Road
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Thunder Road

In the jaw-dropping opening sequence of “Thunder Road,” Officer Jim Arnaud (Jim Cummings), a uniformed cop in his early 30s, saunters up to the front of a church to speak at his mother’s funeral. Technically, you would call the speech a eulogy, but the mildly absurd free-associational confessional ramble that pours out of Jim feels more like a reality-show outtake — which makes it, in fact, one of the most authentic eulogies you’ve ever seen in a dramatic feature.

In an unbroken shot that lasts for 10 minutes, and that zooms in on its protagonist almost imperceptibly, Jim talks, he jokes, he dances, and he tries (and fails) to play Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” on his daughter’s pink toy boombox. Mostly, he gets lost in squishy, half-articulated memories of how he didn’t value his mother, at least not in the way he should have, when she was alive. Each time another memory hits him, he cries — not in that decorous, polite, movie-sobbing way but in that ugly-face, clenched-jaw reality way, the emotions overtaking him like a spasm. More than just the crying, we see the thoughts that are triggering the tears. There’s no way on earth that any actor could fake this — it’s pure Method despair.

Duration: 92 min

Release:

IMDb: 7.1

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