BABY DRIVER review by Patrick Hendrickson – Edgar Wright turns in a fun cinematic ride

BABY DRIVER review by Patrick Hendrickson – Edgar Wright turns in a fun cinematic ride

BABY DRIVER is Edgar Wright’s latest action-packed production that tells the story of a getaway driver… named “Baby.” We quickly see that Baby (Ansel Elgort) is an absolute master behind the wheel, which makes him a valuable asset for crime lord Doc (Kevin Spacey), who keeps Baby under his heel due to a debt. At the start of the story Baby is very close to paying off this debt, and starts up a relationship with a waitress named Debora (Lily James).

Baby is a very likeable guy despite the activities he participates in, and it becomes clear early on that he does not want to do any of this and probably would not be doing it if Doc was not holding his leash. Elgort’s performance as Baby brings across an aloof and charming nature. His romance with Debora is sweet and the two of them work great together. Their relationship is the most easy-to-invest part of the story because you really do want them to get away from all of this turmoil. Lily James, as Debora, has her own issues in life that are unrelated to Baby. She is stuck working at a diner with an awful boss and has very little hope of getting out of this desperate situation. That is until Baby shows up in her life and offers an escape from all of it.

Doc has numerous crooks pulling jobs for him, but there are only a few that are important to the story. The key crew members are a couple named Buddy and Darling, played by Jon Hamm and Eiza González respectively, and a violent robber named Bats played by Jamie Foxx. There a few other criminals who appear briefly, most notable among them being Griff played by Jon Bernthal. None of these characters are trustworthy and it is impossible to tell what they’re planning and what they’re going to do next, and for a crime movie these are great traits to have. These characters are all fantastic, they are all rotten to the core, or seemingly psychopathic with only a few hints of any humanity left in them. Darling and Buddy have a passionate romance that borders on obsession for each other, and it almost makes you wonder what the two of them have been through to have fallen so hard for one another. Bats is an absolute lunatic and is alternatively a joy to watch and simultaneously horrifying… he’s such an unpredictable character that he keeps his cohorts, and the audience, completely on edge in every scene he’s in.

Kevin Spacey feels slightly underused despite his character easily having the most influence of them all. He shows up for a few key scenes and gets the ball rolling for the climax once he brings together the band of robbers for another job, but he is only on-screen for maybe a tenth of the run time. Jon Bernthal is another good actor who gets short-ended as he only participates in the opening heist and has no other appearance. This is probably the biggest problem of the film, but the cast-members who do have prominent roles more than make up for it.

BABY DRIVER has a heavy reliance on music and sound design and luckily both of these things are excellently done. Baby has permanent tinnitus that he drowns out by constantly blasting music from multiple iPods with different playlists for every situation. The tinnitus flares up from time to time and is just as uncomfortable as when your ears are actually ringing. Occasionally one of his earbuds gets taken out of his ear and the music dims and can only be heard through one side. These are small touches but very nice ones.

There are multiple chase sequences throughout BABY DRIVER, both on foot and on the road. These sequences are each spectacular set-pieces and there is a perfect amount of intensity to keep them from getting repetitive but also to keep the audience from wondering when the next one is going to happen. The action paired with the soundtrack makes these scenes absolutely heart-pounding. These chases are easily the best moments of the film. This is an incredibly fun and exciting movie from the opening chase scene to the ending, the action is fantastic and the characters are just as amazing. Baby and Debora’s attempt to escape the bleakness of their lives is a compelling plot which holds interest whenever things slow down. This along with the great cast of characters earns BABY DRIVER a 5/5

BABY DRIVER opens June 28, 2017

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