A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The main messages are simple (and cautionary): Don't run away from home, don't take what doesn't belong to you, and don't leave your keys in your car.
Positive Role Models
No worthy role models here; the key characters are a couple of misbehaving kids, a crooked cop, and a bad guy. Only a good Samaritan character has a conscience, but her good deed doesn't go unpunished.
Violence & Scariness
A bloody shootout with blood sprays and dead bodies. A boy is shot in the stomach. A character is covered in blood. Kids are threatened and in danger. Kids handle guns.
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"F--k" and "s--t" are used several times. Two young boys practice their swear words: "f--k," "s--t," "s--thead," "bitch," "p---y," "boobs," "wiener," "damn," "goddamn," "ass," "a--hole," "assface," "crap."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An adult character frantically flushes a bag full of cocaine down his toilet and snorts a handful. He also drinks a beer and smokes a cigarette.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cop Car is a low-budget thriller starring Kevin Bacon that has some interesting ideas. It also has quite a bit of bloody violence, much involving kids -- they handle guns and threatened and in danger, and one is shot in the stomach. A shootout involving adults includes blood spurts, bloody wounds, and killing. Language is also strong, with kids saying at least half of the salty stuff; "s--t" is at the forefront, with "f--k" not far behind. An adult character is shown flushing a big bag of cocaine down his toilet and snorting a handful; he also drinks a beer and smokes a cigarette. But sex and consumerism aren't issues, and older teens with strong stomachs may enjoy discovering this stylish gem. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Directed and co-written by Jon Watts, this deceptively simple, low-budget thriller delivers its extremely satisfying suspense through minimal characters, wide-open spaces, and poker-faced patience. The minimalistic COP CAR gleefully revels in details, like Kretzer spending long minutes breaking into a car with his shoelace, or the kids nail-bitingly testing out a bullet-proof vest.
Watts creates additional suspense by crossing shots of wide, empty country landscapes dotted with landmarks (a barbed-wire fence, a snake-hole, etc.) with more intimate close-ups; Bacon is especially good here, feverish and furious in his pointy mustache and dark glasses. The spare use of music, and, toward the end, an incredible use of light (in the dark, the kids turn on the siren but can't find the headlights), make this an inventive joy ride well worth seeing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.