Friday, July 7, 2017

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver (2017)
Buy Baby Driver on Amazon
Written by: Edgar Wright
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx
Rated: R

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver named Baby finds himself in a heist doomed to fail.

This is an incredible thrill ride that often feels like music videos stitched together. The music and action are closely linked, editing action and beats together in great sequences. The story isn't revolutionary and this often falls to the rule of cool, but the level of fun overcomes the shortfalls. This is a well crafted movie, from framing to editing. I wanted to watch it again as soon as it finished, and that doesn't happen often.
Watch it.

Wright conceived of Baby Driver in 1994, adapting the film's original planned beginning into a 2003 music video he directed for Mint Royale's "Blue Song", which starred Noel Fielding as a music-loving getaway driver for a group of bank robbers.

From the start this is a fun, opening on an in progress heist with Baby driving a Subaru WRX. His iPod is blasting the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song "Bellbottoms," as he waits for the crew to complete the robbery. This kicks off the movie as the action is timed to the beat of the song as Baby sings in the car. The first fifteen minutes is a great introduction to the movie and the style of action. The car scenes are solid, and provide great reaction shots from others in the car as they can't believe how good Baby drives. He effortlessly slides around obstacles.

The movie is well crafted. It's apparent in nearly every scene that Wright took his time to craft what we see and deliver the exact result intended. Few movies link the story and action to the soundtrack so closely.
This movie looks great. So many shots are just perfectly framed, and the editing is incredible as it creates an indelible sequence with the music.

Sound is crucial for the movie because it's key for Baby. He's into music, and if you noticed, when the production company logos start appearing to begin the film there is a tone. This links to Baby's tinnitus, which is why he listens to music all the time, to drown it out.
We slowly learn more about Baby. Why he's a driver, what brought him into the life, and that he's very skilled but not necessarily a criminal on the level of Jon Hamm or Jamie Foxx's characters. Both of them do a great job and Foxx has a lot of great lines. He completely inhabits his character, the sociopath Bats

Part of the drama is how strange Baby acts. The other heist members don't know if he's fearless or dumb. It bothers Bats, and it's never good when a sociopath is bothered by your behavior.
Ultimately when you play in the dirt and you get dirty. Baby wants to leave the life, but of course it's never that easy.

The movie isn't without humor. When Bats pulls off Baby's sunglasses, which he almost always wears even indoors, Baby has another pair ready. When Bats slaps those off, Baby has yet another pair.

This follows the rule of cool, but it's just so cool that it's easy to ignore the shortfalls. Lily James plays a love interest and the introduction of her character Debora just feels off. She doesn't have much of a role, and she could have been a much better character.
The movie starts fast paced and hardly ever lets up. Debora is there mostly to pace the action.

Kevin Spacey's character has a really strange turn later, though it sets up a villain face off that is incredibly moody. It's just that getting there doesn't make much sense. It's best not to pull on too many strings.

Baby is the best driver, and while the first heist goes off without a hitch, in later heists he makes a few mistakes. Some of that is chalked up to working with the crazy Bats, but with the number of jobs it's implied Baby has done, he's bound to have encountered that behavior before.

The flashbacks are an anachronism. The car and style seems like the '70s or '80s but Baby has an iPod, which didn't come out until 2001. That 2001 timeline tracks with Baby's suspected age. This is a memory, and it isn't the only time Baby's mind creates an anachronism. The final scene juxtaposes time periods while recalling a daydream, creating an ambiguous ending.

Prior to that the conclusion just keeps ramping up with the suspense ever increasing. Baby Driver is full of style and because of that it's bound to generate a few imitators. They won't be able to touch this.

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