Aug 30, 2017

[Movies] Baby Driver (2017) Review

I've become quite the fan of Edgar Wright movies over the years. His Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy of movies all proved to be delightful experiences that demonstrated how good direction can support comedic storytelling to great effect. And thus he remains to be a director to watch out for.

I was a little surprised by Baby Driver as it felt more like a straight up heist piece and not necessarily a full comedy. But the first trailer was pretty awesome and I didn't immediately realize it was a Edgar Wright movie. And then I was still confused but definitely curious to see what he had done with an R-rated action movie.

But it's not like his work on movies like Hot Fuzz didn't already establish that he had a pretty good flair for action amid his comedic storytelling. And I quickly got pretty excited to see what he'd do with this sort of a story.

And man I was not disappointed at all.

Synopsis: Baby Driver is a 2017 somewhat romantic heist action movie written and directed by Edgar Wright. And it is totally awesome.

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a rather enigmatic getaway driver or wheel man for various robbers assembled by Doc (Kevin Spacey), a bit of a mastermind who has a particular hold on Baby. He almost never employs the same crew for jobs and yet Baby is always the assigned getaway driver. Baby has a few quirks like wearing the same outfit for every heist, always covering his eyes with shades and almost obsessing carrying multiple iPods on him with various tracks and playlists that help drown out his tinnitus in his year.

But then things change a bit when he encounters a waitress named Debora (Lily James) at a 24 hour diner.The two manage to strike up a conversation and feel a mutual attraction for one another. But of course Baby can't really discuss what he does and tries to keep that side of his life separate. But one thing leads to another and his worlds collide perhaps in the worst way possible.

What I Liked: What didn't I like? This movie had Wright pulling out all the usual tricks from his past movies and adding even more on top for good measure. The whole piece was a love letter to the beat and the power of rhythm as Baby's songs would not just time the heists but also a lot of the action down to when guns would fire and things would blow up. We have seen this sort of flair in his prior movies like Shaun of the Dead but this one took things to an entirely different level.

The characters that make up this movie are equally brilliant. Yes Baby is a naturally appealing protagonist and he has a lot going for him. But even Doc and the rest of the goons that make up his crew are all pretty vivid characters who tell so many stories not just with their words but in the way they talk or how they dress and how they address one another. This is actors actually acting with everything given to the and it all comes together wonderfully.

And what you get is a love story that is also a bit of a fiasco but it's not just wish fulfillment or fan service.

What Could Have Been Better: I have few bad things to say about this movie but for the sake of balance reviewing, let me try to nitpick a bit.

Did this need to be an R-rated action movie? That remains to be seen. Sure it worked to tell the heist tone really well, but I could also see this work as a lighter action comedy. But the resulting movie is still great.

Debora also doesn't get as much character development as we'd like as she exists largely to be the object of Baby's affections. It serves the narrative well but I think we all wish we knew more about her apart from her come-what-may attitude to life.

TL;DR: There is little bad about Baby Driver and it is one of the best movies that I've seen this year or perhaps even for a while now. It has a charming love story, an intriguing plot, great action, and of course memorable characters. And thus the move totally deserves a full 5 crazy car stunts out of a possible 5.

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