Cop Car (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 15-Oct-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Cop Car Tour
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Their First & Last Ride: The Making of Cop Car
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 87:56
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jon Watts

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Kevin Bacon
James Freedson-Jackson
Hays Wellford
Camryn Manheim
Shea Whigham
Sean Hartley
Kyra Sedgwick
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $24.95 Music Phil Mossman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
German DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish dts 5.1
Hungarian dts 5.1
Polish dts 5.1
Portuguese dts 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

††† 2015ís Cop Car is the second feature film from director Jon Watts, whose debut endeavour, the intensely creepy Clown, began as a fake YouTube trailer that developed into a viral sensation. With Watts now tapped to oversee the next cinematic outing for Spider-Man over at Marvel, attention will no doubt be drawn to his initial low-budget indie endeavours. Cop Car is best described as a slightly simplified Coen Brothers movie in the vein of No Country for Old Men, Blood Simple and Fargo, with muted performances, plenty of atmosphere, prolonged passages of stillness, and relentless violence, examining the dire price of a mistake. For those with the patience to sit through the movie, itís enormously rewarding, especially with a finale thatís both intense and difficult to forget.

††† Whilst hiking through the middle of nowhere one afternoon, bored young boys Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hays Wellford) happen upon a sheriff cruiser, which piques their curiosity. Unattended and with the keys still in it, the pair take advantage of the situation, taking the cop car on a joyride for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The owner of the automobile is a certain Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon), a corrupt cop whoís knee-deep in criminal activities and is determined to recover his vehicle, all the while endeavouring to keep the entire incident a secret from his colleagues.

††† Cop Car is grounded in a sense of reality since Watts visibly understands children. The picture briskly establishes Travis and Harrison as preteen boys without a stable home life, traversing the dusty landscapes to alleviate their boredom. They arenít juvenile delinquents or rebels, but rather regular boys with heightened imaginations, perceiving the car as a really fancy plaything. Better yet, their dialogue and actions are naturalistic and believable. With it being so easy to latch onto the pair, the narrative is nail-biting, particularly since Travis and Harrison are naÔve about the grave danger and consequences of this situation that any adult would be able to recognise. Thereís even a scene in which they find a cache of firearms and try out a bulletproof vest - itís uncomfortable to watch because we as viewers know the potential consequences, but itís precisely what would transpire if ten-year-old boys had access to such items without adult supervision.

††† To an extent, Cop Car feels like a coming-of-age indie movie, with the perils of the real world corrupting the innocence of youth. Watts favours mood and visuals over excessive dialogue, which may test viewers without the patience to give the movie a chance. But with accomplished cinematography, first-rate direction and taut editing, Cop Car is easy to become invested in; the filmic spell retains a mesmerising hold. Tension also runs rampant, leading to a shootout that winds down the story on an intense note. Miraculously, the gunplay doesnít feel out of place, as this world is established as a violent and brutal place, and it helps that the technical presentation is outstanding. But while there is a bit of dark humour, one cannot help but wonder what the Coen Brothers would have made of this material - I would have preferred more black comedy.

††† The two child actors are a real find. Finding worthwhile preteen performers is always a challenge, yet Wellford and Freedson-Jackson are sublimely believable and never irritating. But itís Bacon who steals the show, which is no surprise. Sheriff Kretzer is a pure caricature, and Bacon sinks his teeth into the part, even sporting a moustache to amplify the sleaziness. The other notable member of the cast is Shea Whigham, giving Bacon a run for his money on the scenery-chewing front. Whigham making pitch-black threats towards the two boys is one of the greatest moments in the movie; itís so darkly comedic and must be seen to be believed.

††† The only issue with Cop Car is that it seems unsure of how to end, with the narrative pushing beyond its logical closure point, struggling to find a satisfying note on which to close. It doesnít entirely work, as it feels like the movie is starting to get away from Watts, but itís not enough to sour the experience as a whole.

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Transfer Quality


††† Universal presents Cop Car in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1. Minted from a pristine digital source, this AVC-encoded, 1080p high definition presentation is downright exceptional, sporting one of the best images Iíve seen from a Universal title. And considering the small budget and limited resources, that is high praise indeed.

††† Lensed digitally, the movie exhibits superlative clarity and detail across the board. Long shots dazzle, with landscapes looking vast and precise, while close-ups reveal every last detail on the actorsí faces. There is no grain structure to the visuals, but there is a light layer of natural-looking noise which accentuates the detail. Colours pop, and the transfer remains strong during the night-time scenes.

††† I did not spot any bothersome encoding anomalies; no aliasing, macroblocking, banding, or crush. Additionally, there are no signs of digital tampering; no noise reduction or edge enhancement is visible. And with the movie being housed on a BD-50, Universal has afforded the title a healthy bitrate. Cop Car is a HD stunner, showing yet again why standard definition DVDs do not cut it anymore.

††† Plenty of subtitle options are available; sampling the English track, I had no issues reading it.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


††† Almost as impressive as the video presentation is the audio, with the movie carrying a generous English DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. A handful of other options are available for other nationalities, but I was only interested in the English track, and it did not disappoint.

††† Cop Car may be a low-budget indie, but the sound design is layered and precise, with every scene being backed by effective ambience which allows for such an intoxicating viewing experience. Thankfully, the soundtrack does its job extremely well, with the surround channels establishing a sense of place.

††† The front channels are mostly reserved for dialogue, which is clean and well-mixed. There is a shootout towards the filmís end, and the soundtrack positively comes alive when the first shot rings out. Subwoofer is put to great use, while the gunfire comes through cleanly and precisely.

††† No complaints from me.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Cop Car Tour (HD; 20:19)

††† Now this is interesting. Beginning with a brief tour of the car, this supplement consists of twenty minutes of pure, raw B-roll footage from the shoot. There are no interviews, and thereís no commentary, allowing the behind-the-scenes footage to speak for itself. I found this featurette fascinating, though I wouldíve liked more information about how various things were achieved (how were shots achieved in which the boys look like they are actually driving?).

Their First & Last Ride: The Making of Cop Car (HD; 2:57)

††† Absolutely worthless. An extended commercial with B-roll footage (all of which was glimpsed in the previous extra) and film clips. A YouTube-grade video, nothing more.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † The Region A edition misses out on the twenty-minute featurette, only sporting the worthless extended commercial. A confident win for the local disc.


††† Not for every taste, but Cop Car is a worthwhile low-key thriller that deserves to be seen by a wide audience. Universal's Blu-ray benefits from a borderline flawless video and audio presentation, though the extras are a bit light for my taste. A commentary track would have topped everything off handsomely. Recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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