Film Reviews

Baby Driver

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Baby Driver stars Ansel Elgort (Fault in Our Stars) as Baby, a talented getaway driver for a stealthy crime boss in Atlanta. When he realizes that the stakes of the job have gotten too high, Baby decides he’s ready to retire from the heist game. However, his exit won’t be an easy one and he will need his wits and his playlists to keep him alive.

Much of the current film chatter is centered around this film and rightfully so. Writer/director Edgar Wright’s latest effort is a fresh and original story with a funky soundtrack and colorful, multi-dimensional characters. It also has a lot of heart considering the fact that it’s a film about gangsters and the terrible crimes they commit.

At the center of it all is Baby, who suffers from tinnitus as a result of an accident he was in as a kid. To drown out the ringing, he sports earbuds and listens to various music throughout the day: “Bellbottoms” (The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion), “Easy” (The Commodores), and “Brighton Rock” (Queen) are just a few of his go-to songs. His playlist is actually the soundtrack to the movie, which I found pretty cool as the music fit perfectly which the tone of each scene.

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A still of Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver (2017)

Baby is a fun character and not just because of his unique name. He talks very little, so much so that he is incorrectly labeled as “mute” and “retarded” by some of the people he interacts with. In actuality, he’s quite intelligent and is also the fastest precision driver in the city, which is how he landed his current job. I thought Elgort was perfectly cast and brought the character to life in a very organic way. He was able to not only encapsulate all of Baby’s idiosyncrasies, but also made him likable and someone worthy of rooting for.

The big bad boss is simply called Doc and played by Academy-Award winner Kevin Spacey (House of Cards). For most of the movie he appears to be a cold and calculating businessman, yet in the final moments of the film I must admit that I was surprised by some of his character’s actions. I liked what he brought to the overall story and how much he challenged Baby in terms of morality.

When Baby begins to see the true danger and violence present in every heist he is visibly uneasy, yet Doc pushes him to continue with the promise of an end in sight. When it becomes clear that he’s under Doc’s thumb indefinitely there is a shift in their dynamic and I liked how well both actors played this out onscreen.

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A still of Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Jamie Foxx and Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver (2017)

Further complicating matters is the introduction of Debora, played by Lily James (Cinderella), the girl who Baby begins to fall in love with. The two had a sweet onscreen chemistry and she played a major role in him wanting to leave his life of driving and crime behind. Although Debora isn’t given too much of a backstory, James does a good job with what she’s given.

All of the actors are larger than life and fun to watch onscreen. A few standouts are Buddy and Darling, played by Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Eiza Gonzalez (Jem and the Holograms) respectively. They are the kind of characters who are incredibly entertaining because of their relationship with one another, but also a little mysterious because it is hinted at that there is more to them than meets the eye. As actors, Hamm and Gonzalez are a great pair and I think their performances added a lot to the film in terms of depth.

The same can definitely be said for Bats, played by Academy-Award winner Jamie Foxx. He is a complete wild card and for much of the film a sort of adversary to Baby, although they are working on the same “team”. It was a different kind of role for Foxx and I found his character to be somewhat frightening because of his unpredictability.  Even still it is apparent that Foxx was committed to the role and almost seemed to revel in being a “bad guy”.

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A still from Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver looks fabulous on the big screen and it’s the kind of film that causes you to feel invested in the characters and the story from start to finish. Some elements within the third act do feel a little wacky and or misplaced, but there is nothing major enough that ruins the overall experience.

The music complements this film in the absolute best way and I think it has played a large part in why audiences are enjoying it so much. If you’re a music/film lover and look forward to fresh and original stories- be sure to check this one out! It’s currently in theaters now!

Baby Driver is written and directed by Edgar Wright and stars: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Bernthal, CJ Jones, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx.

Have you seen Baby Driver yet? What was your favorite song featured in the movie? Let me know in the comments below!

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