Rob Reviews "Baby Driver"
In the case of The Geek Community vs. Edgar Wright, there are very strong arguments from both sides. When he signed on to direct “Ant-Man” and then exited the film had fans concerned that the director and writer of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s “Blood and Ice Cream” trilogy had left the Marvel Universe hanging. (Granted, Peyton Reed ended up with the home run, and the allegations that Wright wanted to do a story that was way off the canon mark made everything OK. But things got a bit shaky there for a moment.) Instead, he would go off and work on a concept that came from a music video he directed a while back, and “Baby Driver” became a thing.
Ansel Elgort plays the title character (referred to as “Baby”), who becomes a thief after an accident in his childhood has given him a permanent ringing in his ears thus taking his love for music to a whole new level as the music overrides his condition. When he is caught by a gangster named Doc (Kevin Spacey), he must serve as Doc’s getaway driver for a series of bank robberies until the debt is paid back. Once that time is reached, Baby just wants to live out his life legitimately with his girl, Debora (Lily James), but he is sucked back in for another job with Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), and Bats (Jamie Foxx) with the promise of big bucks.
The only way that I can convey what this film is to you is simply “La La Land” with a lot more violence. Since the inspiration for this story (which Wright also wrote) was a music video, it would make sense that there is not only choreography from a dance standpoint but also from a fight and chase angle as well. The action sequences have a lyrical quality to them (pun TOTALLY intended) that makes this an absolute feast visually that I could not get enough of. This could easily be adapted into a graphic novel, and I could totally understand anyone that thought this was taken from one given its deliberate use of a steady color palate that separates day and night brilliantly and a shooting style that seems to move from shot to shot like it is moving from panel to panel.
Add to that a cast that absolutely sucked me in and it makes what is awesome even awesomer. No matter how strong a story is, if you don’t have the actors to bring it to life it can be a tough sell, and this nails it on just about every level. Elgort brings a coolness to Baby that shows both the character’s toughness and innocence that he is trying to hold onto while staying one step ahead of The Man. Lily James’ Debora adds a different layer of emotion to both of them as young hearts that just want to break free tonight (OK, that was intentional, but I don’t guarantee that it won’t happen again) with great chemistry, while Spacey is back in his wheel house (and the puns keep coming) as the creepy guy that wants to control Baby’s life for his own gain, and Hamm is at what I feel is truly his best with the right amount of creepy and caring. Jamie Foxx does flirt with over-the-top here but like has been pointed out to me by various individuals, that is kind of what he does. Luckliy, it was not enough to take me out of what is going on, and that is a very good thing.
Given the number of films that I have already seen this year and am likely to in the second half of 2017, “Baby Driver” may not wind up in my top ten due to the pure brilliance that has been brought so far, but make no mistake: I will more than likely be in the minority on that and trust that this film is still high on the list. This is a must see for anyone that loves music, car chases, and just plain gangster stuff, so get thee to a theater!
And in the case of The Geek Community vs. Edgar Wright: I think we’re gonna be OK.