“Baby Driver” is a departure from director Edgar Wright’s usual fare, “Hot Fuzz,” The World’s End” and “Shaun of the Dead.” Although some parts are as violent and surreal as those films, “Baby Driver” is tethered in reality. It’s almost a homage to Tarantino’s vengeance and psychopath-driven storylines.
Ansel Elgort is Baby, a virtuoso getaway driver. He drivers a car like he’s coming home through rush hour. Once he inserts his ear buds (to drown out the constant ringing in his ears), and slides beneath the wheel, Baby becomes a prodigy who creates his masterpieces on the city’s asphalt.
With its wall-to-wall classic rock and R&B soundtrack from Barry White to Queen, (Boomers might like the music better than the movie), “Baby Driver” is “Transporter” meets “Fast and Furious.”
Which “Fast and Furious?”
Does it matter?
Pick a number…any number. I think they are up to eight now.
Baby is recruited by Doc (Kevin Spacey), a mastermind who plans elaborate robberies with a psychopathic crew, each member more unhinged that the other. One of Doc’s crew members in particular Bats, (Jamie Foxx) dislike Baby instantly, so natural enemies are born. Actually, we really wouldn’t have a story if Bats liked Baby. By the by, Foxx’s character is aptly named. A righteous killer, in his own mind, Bats has a Gibraltar size chip on his shoulder and wants to waste everybody. And I mean, “Everybody.”
At the risk of sounding cliché, “Baby Driver” is a constant thrill ride, as each heist becomes more elaborate than the last, and the car chases are fueled with a higher mix of octane. To the film’s detriment, the story slows down to 55 mph, to establish a love story between Baby, and a waitress name Debora (Lily James) whom he meets in a diner. An obvious plot devise, as Baby promises to do a final heist, and drive off in the sunset with Debora.
We’ll there is still 45 minutes left in the film, and the scriptwriters ain’t having that. Neither is the audience who are holding a $12 ticket stub. So, Bats and Doc blackmail Baby back into the business with the threat of harming Debora.
Surprise! Surpirse! Bet you never saw that coming.
With the film back on track, the final heist goes wrong and the crew falls apart. Not to give too much away, but Jon Hamm (Mad Men), who plays a creepy member of Doc’s crew, is like the Energizer Bunny, he takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin.’ Hamm’s character starts off shallow, but becomes deeper and darker and the story progresses.
“Baby Driver” is a small film compared to the other summer blockbusters. But it does offer a stellar cast. Thank God it wasn’t in 3-D.
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