Thunder Road ★★★★

"I didn't know you liked ice cream. That's super interesting, I'm gonna have to write that down."

The SXSW darling Thunder Road, originally a short film but now a feature length, may very well pinpoint the beginning of Jim Cummings' storied film career. Actor, writer, director, and one-man show for large portions of this comedy-drama, Cummings gives one of the best indie performances of the year.

Starting with an epic unbroken take giving an unhinged and emotionally unstable eulogy for his character's mother, Cummings is a tour-de-force in his debut feature length. In his own special way of coping, a police officer swings wildly among all the stages of grief and every feeling in-between.

Already with many mental demons, add a young child, impending divorce, and job troubles to the mix and watch Cummings just own the screen. I'm not sure if I saw a better show of emotional torture this year, hilarious and uncomfortable while still keeping itself grounded in reality. His rapid-fire chaotic delivery contrasted with scenes of gentle brooding dread show incredible range and ambition. With a less talented performer, it would be pompous nonsense; but Cummings is a virtuoso maniac.

He is the entire reason to watch this. Otherwise, some of it looks like it was shot for a TV sitcom, and other supporting actors really don't bring anything to the film. But as an indie comedy-drama, there wasn't a better film of its type released this year.

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