Traditionally, especially in Western societies, men and boys have been expected to control their emotions. Show a stiff upper lip and not let anything get to them. If there’s crying to be done then that’s women’s work. Whilst these perceptions have thankfully begun to change, male leads in films still regularly ascribe to the mean and moody stereotypes of yore. In Thunder Road we’re faced with a man desperately trying to hold it together.
Officer Jim Arnaud (Jim Cummings) is a Texas police officer on the brink of a nervous breakdown. He’s saying goodbye to his mother today and desperately struggling to put his feelings into words. His ex-wife (Jocelyn DeBoer) has custody of their daughter (Kendal Farr) and seems determined to undermine him at every opportunity. While he in turn struggles to bond with his child. The only person Jim can rely on is his friend and colleague Nate (Nican Robinson) but that doesn’t mean he gets the respect he deserves down at the precinct.
Thunder Road is a calling card for the undoubted talents of Jim Cunningham. He writes, directs and stars in this vibrant and thrilling portrait of a man on the edge. He gives a performance which is both whole-hearted and intelligently nuanced. His namesake is the kind of character you don’t often see on the big screen, if at all. He’s the emotionally fraught heart of an inventive, distinctly personal and highly impressive indie drama from a major new voice.
Thunder Road is out in cinemas from 31 May.