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Review: "Baby Driver" (2017)


Title: Baby Driver

Genre: Action, Heist/Crime

Director: Edgar Wright

Stars: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez

Grade: A+

In a Nutshell:

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver. After a tragic car accident in his childhood that killed both of his parents and left him suffering with tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears), Baby started boosting cars and committing other petty crimes. To help himself concentrate on driving, and to drown out the constant ringing noise, Baby uses earbuds to listen to music while he drives – this is arguably what makes him such a spectacular driver. After stealing a car (with a trunk-load of unspecified, but highly illegal, 'loot') from Doc (Kevin Spacey), Baby is coerced into a life of crime. Following each successful heist, Baby is one step closer to repaying his debt to Doc and leaving the criminal life forever. But in true action movie fashion, leaving the world of crime behind isn't so easy. After Baby meets Deborah (Lily James), a young waitress who shares his love of music and driving, he resolves to get out of Doc's reach by leaving town forever. To avoid spoilers, I'll simple say that this doesn't exactly go as he has planned.

The Critique:

As a huge Edgar Wright fan, I'd like to say I always had faith that this film would be awesome. However, after I saw the first trailer I had mixed feelings – the whole thing just looked so slick; my big concern was that in his shift to a more Americanized take on the action genre (sans his common collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), Edgar Wright had lost his unique touch as a director. I am so glad that I was wrong.

Although Baby Driver leans a little more towards action than comedy, and a little more towards American sensibilities than British ones, it is still very much a product of Edgar Wright's brilliant directing. He manages to provide the expected thrills of the heist genre while also creating genuinely interesting characters (especially Jamie Foxx's performance as Bats) and poignant emotional moments. Despite being a relative newcomer to the scene, Ansel Elgort proves to be a great casting choice as he holds his own against veteran actors. Overall, I'd rank Baby Driver right up there with my favorite Edgar Wright films (Shaun of the Dead [2004] and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World [2010]) AND with my favorite action films (Die Hard [1988] and Mad Max: Fury Road [2015]).

Shout-Out(s):

This is probably obvious, but the soundtrack for this film is incredible. Featuring both mainstream hits and deep cuts, across a wide range of genres and time periods, the Baby Driver soundtrack should appeal to just about anyone.

To Go, Rent, or to Netflix:

I was lucky enough to catch an advance screening of this film, but I plan on seeing it again in the theater after the official release date (June 28th). I'd encourage you to do the same!

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