Sunday, July 2, 2017

Review: I sincerely think you all should buckle up for "Baby Driver"

Baby Driver Review
"Baby Driver" is the reason we go to movies.

This is the type of movie we pray litters the movie theater every summer. Well, maybe not every summer, but every season of every year.  This is the type of you movie you go to with all your favorite people, and you hoot and holler throughout the entire run time. Its a party anthem, its an event you giddy for. Its a movie I don't have much beef with at all, just a few mere nitpicks. I see it and I can't imagine my life without it now, it goes on to add itself to the ever growing pantheon of the movies I can't live without. 

So what is "Baby Driver?"

Well, one of the reasons why I can't wait to own this film is watch it in a double feature with "Drive." "Baby Driver" has much in common with "Drive." Both films have to do with 21st Century Men With No Names (yes, Baby is more of a nickname, you'll find out when you see it) Both films have the lead man fall in a forbidden love, both drive for crime lords, both want out. If you can imagine "Drive" with more of a sense of humor, stylish in a manner that only director Edgar Wright can produce, with a totally different style of soundtrack, that's "Baby Driver." Baby (Ansel Elgort) I think says more words than Ryan Gosling does. Plus, the characters have a few surprises up their sleeves in "Baby Driver" that I didn't see coming.

Edgar Wright has distinguished himself as I highly stylish director, and that anesthetic for his films is beginning to become common place. He isn't the same director he was when he made "Spaced," or even "Shaun of the Dead" or "Hot Fuzz." The pulse of his films are beating at a much faster rate these days. He's also adopted a Quentin Tarantino edge where he includes lots of pop culture references in his movies. This seems to piss lots of people off, but much like Tarantino's early films, it never overwhelms the experience, it just adds an extra layer of humanity to his characters. I like this new era of Edgar Wright, if I can even call it a new era. Each filmmaker evolves in some capacity in their careers. 

So Baby is the star of "Baby Driver" and he's one hell of a getaway driver for crime figure Doc (Kevin Spacey). Doc is using Baby's services because Baby accidentally stole from him, and now must payback the debt. Baby is constantly listening to music to drown out the ringing in his ear from a car accident as a child. He works with a different crew set up by Doc (including Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Bernthal, Jamie Foxx and Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea). Baby nearly has his debt paid off to Doc, and he wants to leave the criminal life and settle down. He has a crush on a diner waitress named Deborah (Lily James). But Doc doesn't want to let him go. What will Baby do without hurting anybody's feelings?

The film features a wicked sense of humor that blends perfectly with the stunning chase sequences. There maybe better chases in the history of movies, but not many that provide so much fun for the viewers. There is an extra layer of excitement because we care about the characters. Each character in this film is written and performed beautifully. I could write three paragraphs alone on the relationship between Deborah and Baby, and how organically their relationship blossoms and it feels like something real. I could write three additional paragraphs on how funny Jamie Foxx is and even how menacing he gets. I could write about the budding evolution of Jon Hamm's character and how much he changes over the course of the film. I could also write quite a bit on how much Spacey's character surprised me in this film, particularly during a crucial moment at the end of the film between him and Baby. I could dig into Baby's past, and how he became the person he is. But I don't want to over-indulge. This is a movie you are going to love to discover on your own.

I will say that I love that this is a funny movie. I love how the movie shifts gears from action and even morbid suspense with a fair amount of ease. I love each character in this movie. One of my main gripes in this movie is that we don't get enough time with Jon Bernthal, he's in a small stretch of the film at the beginning, then we never see him again. He does outstanding work, just like he always does, but he's gone way too soon. I love all the music in the film, and now I want to immediately go to my nearest music store and buy up the soundtrack. I think you will want to do the same! There is really very little of this movie that I don't love.

Like I said, "Baby Driver" is the reason we go to movies. You walk out of the theater saying to yourself, "Ya know, they don't make them like that anymore." I would argue that they never did. Edgar Wright has a talent of taking genres and usual tropes and tweaking them just enough to make them feel original. That's what he's done with "Baby Driver" and in a time of cinema where everything is a sequel or a prequel or a shared universe, something like "Baby Driver" is extra special.


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