Dan's Review: "Baby Driver" an incredible audio-visual feast
Lily James and Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver - © 2017 Sony Pictures.
Baby Driver (Sony Pictures)
Rated R for violence and language.
Starring Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Flea, Lanny Joon, Sky Ferreira, Big Boi, Killer Mike, Paul Williams, Jon Spencer, CJ Jones, Hudson Meek.
Written and directed by Edgar Wright.
In an era of action films that depend on huge computer-generated graphics, explosions and mindless stories, I often think we are doomed to live out our days in a cinematic swamp, devoid of any kind of exceptional art or entertainment. Enter Edgar Wright, driving a cherry-red coupe to save the day with Baby Driver, the story of a wheelman forced to drive robbers to and from their capers.
Ansel Elgort stars as Baby, a young man who suffers from constant tinnitus (ringing in his ears) caused by a car crash the killed his parents when he was a child. Raised in foster care, he eventually turns to boosting cars and driving them very fast, which catches the attention of a criminal boss named Doc (Kevin Spacey). The brutal boss indentures Baby to drive for all his criminal capers involving numerous gangs. Baby is a master of the getaway, listening to killer tacks on his iPod to drown out the ringing in his ears. As Baby repays his debt to Doc, he meets the lovely Debora (Lily James), a diner waitress who wins his heart. Just when Baby thinks his debt is paid, Doc forces him to do one more heist, threatening the lives of his foster dad (CJ Jones) and Debora if he fails to get his gang back in one piece without being caught. The gang is comprised of “Bats” (Jamie Foxx), a ruthless killer; “Buddy” (Jon Hamm), a former stock broker-turned bank robber; and “Darling” (Eiza Gonzales), Buddy’s lover. The “last heist” does not go as planned, and baby must use all of his wits to outsmart Doc, the gang and the police to save himself and the ones he loves.
Baby Driver is by far the best film (so far) of 2017. It’s exciting, fun, funny and a beautiful all at once, showcasing Edgar Wright’s incredible talent for telling stories while gracefully manipulating every single movie frame. Wright’s rapid-fire scene structure makes special effects moot (paying attention, Michael Bay?), positioning all the action into feast for the senses. Even a scene where Baby and Debora meet in a laundromat is carefully laid out, utilizing different colors from clothes in the machines to create a beautiful visual palette. Wright’s ability to use the entire film frame communicate is a pleasure to experience, especially when paired with the great acting talents of Spacey, Foxx, Hamm and the up-and-coming Ansel Elgort, paired with Lily James. I haven’t even mentioned Wright’s script, which also compliments his visual mastery. It would be a treat to watch Baby Driver with the sound off. Speaking of sound, the musical sound track (including Simon and Garfunkel’s “Baby Driver” in the end credits) is an audio treat and one the most important aspects of the movie; a cornucopia of songs you may be familiar with and some you will not, but all of part of the film’s choreography.
Baby Driver gets a deserved R rating for plenty of language and violence, so get a sitter. It’s worth the trip if you like being entertained in every sense of the word.
Baby Driver Trailer