Plot Summary: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright
Runtime: 1h 52minMain Cast:
- Ansel Elgort as Baby
- Jon Bernthal as Griff
- Jon Hamm as Buddy
- Eiza González as Darling
- Lily James as Debora
- Kevin Spacey as Doc
Review: by The Superior Spider-SamSo here in the D.C Metro area (and probably other places as well), several of our theaters have discounted tickets on Tuesdays. This is usually the day when I choose to see something I’m not too excited about if I have time to kill. So, I looked up what was playing and saw this “Baby Driver” had above 90% review rating so I checked it out. Yeah, this movie was not a Tuesday movie- it deserved an opening day viewing. Baby Driver was not just great- it is the best movie of 2017 so far and I am not sure anything else this year is beating it.
What I Didn’t Like:
Let’s start here because it’s short. I didn’t like that I saw this movie so late and almost missed it’s theatrical run. That’s it.
What I Liked:
Ok, so Baby Driver is one part heist movie, one part love story, all parts exciting and gripping story telling. So Baby Driver is the story of a driver- named Baby- (Ansel Elgort) who works as the getaway driver for a team of thieves all employed by a man named Doc (Kevin Spacey). Doc is the mastermind behind heists all across the city. He plans meticulously and always picks the right people for the specific job at hand; as such he never uses the same crew more than once with the exception of Baby, because Baby is the best driver. Ever. On Earth. In History.
Seriously, the first scene- which is Baby driving his team away after a bank heist- will have your eyes wide with glee, excitement, and disbelief as you see this dude drive! When he is driving, it is some of the best choreography and filmography I’ve ever seen. In a good movie, you expect slick edits so that cuts between scenes do not really detract from the overall action. Baby’s driving is in a whole other league. I do not know what kind of magic director Edgar Wright used but you aren’t just watching Baby drive, you are experiencing it- you actually feel like you are there watching every moment with no cuts in the action. There is a scene when Baby is driving down a super narrow alley that leads to a tunnel where he somehow hits the E-brake to turn the car and drift past an 18-wheeler before getting the car back into forward driving position just time to make the tunnel. Now, this was the first scene and I was already screaming “Oh, Heck Yea!” I cannot describe adequately with just words how amazing these driving scenes are, but please trust me, you will be getting excited for what’s to come whenever you see Baby behind the wheel and he starts a song on his iPod- that’s when you know it’s about to go down (the driver needs his music!)
Moving away from the action for a bit, I want to commend the movie for just how much character went into the characters. Baby’s- even though he is the best at what he does- actually doesn’t do these heists for any personal gain or wealth, and his various teammates can see that he’s wholly uninterested in hurting people or robbing people. It was interesting to see Baby’s struggles with this life of crime and learn his motivation to keep assisting Doc in all of these jobs. Besides that Baby himself is just an interesting character. He suffers from tinnitus, a disease that causes a ringing sound in his ears, hence the need to constantly listen to music. This leads to him having these quirks that make him a bit socially awkward, and seeing how he interacts with people (especially threatening murderers he sometimes works with) is fascinating, to say the least. Additionally, Baby’s love interest in a waitress named Deborah (Lily James) who shares his love of music. I’ve been a fan of Lily James for a while now and her performance here did not disappoint. I credit the script, but it was moreso her acting that made me believe this woman could actually fall for this very awkward guy who clearly has secrets he’s hiding. When you understand where both Baby and Deborah come from, they interact EXACTLY as you’d expect them to which made their relationship feel all the more organic. After spending time together they both decide it would be amazing to just hit the road and drive away together enjoying their music as they move as far away as possible; but, of course, Baby still has his reasons to stay and help Doc.
Rounding out the story and characters are husband and wife team Buddy and Darling (Jon Hamm and Eiza González respectively) – two easy-going bank robbers who actually find Baby and his quirks endearing- and, Bats (Jaime Foxx) a murderous robber who can’t stand Baby. The supporting cast really works well in this film. They bounce off of Elgort’s Baby and add comedy to the movie that is unexpected. For example, when Baby and Bats first meet I could not stop snickering at how much disbelief and annoyance was clearly present in Jaime Foxx’s face. These characters also are fleshed out enough that when the climax hits in the third act of the film you can pretty much understand what each person is going to do, and that adds to a feeling of anxiousness you are sure to develop regarding Baby and Deborah. Seriously, Jamie Foxx’s Bats terrified me so much so that I worried for every bank teller, security officer, mailman, pastry chef, heck even grandmothers out for a walk because he was waaaay to trigger happy. Similarly Buddy and Darling showed that although they are more easy-going when it comes to their interests, they aren’t to be messed with. All of this adds to a situation for Baby that seems to become more and more hopeless. It also leads to an exemplary third act filled with big shootouts, tense foot-chases, and of course amazing driving.
Images Courtesy of IMDB