Baby Driver (REVIEW)
Right off the bat, I LOVE Edgar Wright (and Nira Park his producing partner) he is such a visual craftsmen, using all the tricks of the trade to create something that is just oozing with information. Just pay attention to the graffiti in the opening scene and you'll get what I mean.
There are plenty of Wright-isims in the film and they lend themselves to creating a movie in which the world is literally driven by music. It's a fantastic premise that forces every spectacular scene to work to a beat with relentless choreography that makes it feel like poetry in motion. Right from the start you understand that Baby is a guy who loves music, it's his way through the world and every line, every beat controls his body in a way that I don't think any other film really has. This isn't a guy who dances along to music, he lives through it. Unfortunately for him he finds himself in debt to the wrong people and the only way out is to keep his head down, music up and pedal to the floor.
I adored this film. The cast was a solid group of A-listers. Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez and Kevin Spacey make up a great cast of thugs and thieves Ansel Elgort has to contend with. The female characters didn't really feel all that fleshed out to me though, they were kind of background characters by comparison, and seemingly cast as such so that was kind of a let down.
Ansel has just the right amount of charisma, innocence and menace to make for a compelling and relatible Baby. He is faced with criminals who are most definitely more lethal than he is and that makes the tension very high. He never knows if he is going to make it to the next job as the people he works for changes constantly and they all have someone who is a little itchy with the trigger finger. What makes the film great is you want him to succeed, to achieve the goals, to become a person free from crime and that is what makes every chase so thrilling.
The thing that struck me the most is this is much more dramatic than his previous films. It does have plenty of things that keep it light, but the core story is easy on laughs with it's characters, going for more wit than cracking jokes. Not that that is a bad thing, it just means that some of the visual comedy Edgar is so incredibly good at constructing is absent. You see that at the start of the film and sprinkled throughout and that is some of the best stuff, it just focuses more on being a car chase jukebox thriller which he seems to have crafted just beautifully in it's own right.
Visually the film has a slight oversaturated glow to it that I think lends itself to the era of music he tends to listen to and give the film a slight old school feel to it that I enjoyed. The locations are all very distinct and give off a wonderful atmosphere. The grungy tones of the lair where Baby gets his heist instructions, the warm glow of the diner where is love interest Debora works and the harsh bright daylight of the city where he has to be alert and ready for whatever challenges he faces.
The stunt driving is incredible and watching it knowing it is all practical is just that much more impressive. John Wick excelled at gun-fu, Baby Driver excels at Car-fu. Remember when you thought Drive was going to be about amazing heists with Ryan Gosling? That is exactly what this film is and it's simply incredible to watch.
If I had to find fault with the film it is that is starts off on such an amazing high note, when things get serious and the romantic aspect of the film comes forward it feels like a bit of a come down. She isn't the most compelling person, she is, just like Baby, in a job she hates and they bond over music and a want to get away and that is enough for me. I get not all movies can be action all the time, but it did sag for a bit and I felt it right before things were turned right back up to eleven again and it didn't stop until the very end.
It is so wonderful to have Edgar Wright back on the big screen again. He once again crushes it with a movie that has his stamp all over it crafting one of the coolest, most rocking, car chase films you are likely to see.