There are however those instances where they are a more vital part in the movie and become nearly as important as their actor counterparts. Think back to some of the great mystery movies you have seen. Do you remember all the times a character sat in a car during a stakeout or each time an ominous looking car slowly rolled down the street before or after a major scene commenced? I’m sure now that I have mentioned it many different important, exciting and suspenseful scenes come to mind and they all revolve around a car.
A good stakeout scene or two is an important part of any good mystery movie and you can’t have a good stakeout scene without a car (well you can, but it is far less interesting). For the most part we see tan or dark blue cars with tinted windows as the car of choice and for good reason. Nothing about a nondescript, plain Jane car says “Hey over here! I’m on a stakeout”, so they are by and large the perfect car to set a stakeout scene in any mystery movie. Just writing this I can see my favorite actor in my mind, with a cup of coffee in hand and slouched behind the wheel of a tan car with tinted windows watching his/her subject. Some movies also use police cars of both the marked and unmarked variety although less common because if a bad guy in a mystery movie is up to no good, he will surely stop if they see a police car sitting across from their house or work.
I can’t think of a mystery movie without thinking about a surveillance team sitting in a van surrounded by all kinds of electronic gadgets, everything from computers to listening devices. In mystery movies these vans are often disguised as flower delivery vans, cable or telephone vans and plumbers. Much like the cars used for stakeout, not many people would side a work van or delivery van, well unless you’re like me and watch too many mystery movies. The scenes in surveillance vans usually lead up to a major break in the story of a mystery movie and are all the more exciting because we usually get to see our protagonist spring into action.
What good mystery movie would be complete without a fast, seemingly boring car that looks like an ordinary, but has the engine of a race car? The answer to that is simple – there isn’t a good mystery movie without a race car in disguise! We usually don’t see this type of car at peak performance until the protagonist has to leap into action and throw his car into gear, leading us on a high speed chase to solve the mystery. In this case I have noticed that the car often fits the character in the sense that it seems like a simple unassuming car/character until in a pinch when their true colors shine. This is truly a perfect example of what an integral part of a mystery movie a car is and how they are true characters in and of themselves.