In this great tragicomedy, Cummings plays Jim Arno, a police officer who doesn’t instill too much confidence. The film opens with his mother’s funeral, and after that event, he was soon informed that his wife, with whom he does not live, is seeking a divorce. Torn between work, sadness and his desires, Jim tries to establish a closer relationship with his daughter. However, his personal crisis will lead to the internal anger, which has been buying in him for so many years, escalating…
The quality of Jim’s character is reflected in the fact that during the film he acts as a man who can live in our neighborhood, but also as someone who can only exist in the film. At first glance stereotypical, as a police officer with a specific way of speaking, way of walking and mustache, we soon realize that he is much more than those details. Jim is someone who deals with problems we can’t even imagine and we’re not sure if he’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown or experiences a few of them during the film. If I had to describe him in two words, they would surely be a tragic clown.
The first fifteen minutes of the film represent an event from a short film from two years ago – in which Jim gives a funeral speech at his mother’s funeral. Already in the middle of the speech, which was recorded without a cut, we realize that his appearance is in line with his personality, but also that at the same time he hides a lot in himself because he either won’t or can’t express himself. His speech is improvised and very sad, because Jim realizes how much his mother did for him and it is obvious that he endures grief much harder than other people.
All in all, that speech, in addition to pain, also has a dose of unpleasant humor. The rest of the film takes place in a similar course, only it captures a broader view of our hero’s life. Jim tries to leave the impression of a stable and responsible man, even a macho type, but as if everything around him is working against him. The police make fun of him, his wife does not want any contact, while his daughter does not hide her shame when she is with him. Without his mother, his only support is provided by his colleague Nate, but their relationship, due to a person like Jim, is a bit strange and unstable.
Cummings as the author realizes that the protagonist is the strongest driving force of the film and it is to be commended that Cummings as an actor has the talent to fantastically present his character. Everything in the film happens for one reason, and that is to better understand Jim. Although he loses control, our hero is kind and very decent, and I believe that some will think that behind his actions is not only despair, but also some mental illness. That brings with it our sense of guilt when we laugh at him for something, which speaks volumes about how beautiful and well-written Jim’s character is.
Thunder Road is a fantastic little film by Jim Cummings, which directs and scripts and plays the lead role – a finely balanced combination of emotional drama and twisted tragicomedy, with a convincingly characterized protagonist, who will very quickly grow in your heart and when we will cheer to finally finds happiness.