Baby Driver! When I saw this trailer months ago I had no idea what to think about it just from the title alone. Yet seeing a star studded cast that included Jon Hamm, Lily James, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx, I had hopes for a good movie. So, with it rushing into a midweek premiere I managed to finally check it out this weekend. What’s the verdict on the action/crime movie to hit the screen. Robbie K here always appreciating your views on his blog. Let’s get started!
The Acting: I don’t say this too much, but this cast was aces across the board. Let’s start with the lead Ansel Elgort who plays Baby. At first I was only impressed with his ability to be the awkward silent type, but as the movie progresses Elgort is able to bring a little more to the screen to round out Baby. His range broadens as more characters are introduced into the film and he has to balance between the two worlds that he lives in. As kind of his looming shadow, the master villain Kevin Spacey continues to play that cool, calculating, manipulative role that he made famous in House of Cards. Not too much to be annoying, but not too little to be cheated Spacey really brings depth to a cliché role and keeps things heated up. As for Foxx, well his acting continues to improve me in spectrum he can cover. Taking more of the jaded thug approach, Foxx adds the comedic heat to the film with the darker theme taking hold. I could spend the whole review on the chemistry of everyone, but Baby Driver’s cast is stellar.
The Action: For a crime thriller toting about the stunts and guns, the movie certainly delivers. Baby Driver shifts the gear into R for reality and manages to deliver sequences that are exciting chases through obstacle laden courses with all the bells and whistles. Unlike the Fast and The Furious, this movie keeps things on a believable level, requiring actual stunt driving instead of high tech gadgets. Even the gunplay is exciting, finally adopting the crime motif we had in the mafia movie days instead of the explosion loaded productions famous of modern cinema. The action is well directed, and used as a supporting tool to keep the film exciting and fast paced without being the only aspect of the movie.
The Story: Most crime stories bore me these days because they get too caught up in either sex or malicious violence. While Baby Driver is certainly darker in its own accord, it has a story that doesn’t dance in one area. A combination of love, action, and crime drama, the storyboard writers get props from me for crafting a decently balanced story. Baby’s character is complicated (though the trailers might mislead you), and they managed to gradually peel this character apart and help him transform into someone completely new. To do this all while bringing forth a story that doesn’t put me to sleep but keep me on edge is certainly worthy of two thumbs up.
The Music: The theme of Baby Driver is music (he is always wearing headphones if you haven’t seen the trailers), and that means you need a strong soundtrack. Mission successful on this part too. While I’m not quite familiar with some of these classics (yes boo me), they music directors selected a fantastic spread to entertain us with. Across many genres and decades, your ears will be swallowed by a deluge of classics, each fitting with the tone of the movie and providing great sound support to the impressive visuals. And if you don’t know these tunes, well the internet is still a wonderful thing when used appropriately.
No unifying crime plot: In many crime movies, there is a big score, a key target, or some unifying goal. Baby Driver though doesn’t have that big, impending doom I often like to see, choosing instead to focus more on Baby himself. While certainly a small dislike, I felt the unifying theme or grand plan could have provided a little more oomph to the story and a way to integrate Spacey’s character even more.
Romance Aspect: I’m not saying this is bad, and again I’m grasping at most straws, but Baby Driver’s romance component needs a little work. Lily James and Elgort have some decent chemistry and work well together in the scenes where they are paired. However, I feel that this component was a little glazed over up until the climax where the crap starts to hit the fan. Expanding this role again would have tied some things together and integrated the cast a little better to complete the story.
Part of the Ending: This dislike is again complicated, but I’ll do my best to explain. Baby Driver’s ending is certainly unique and took many directions I liked in the form of being non-cliché, artistic, and exciting on many levels. Yet about fifteen minutes of the ending was dragged out entirely too long and started hitting that ridiculous level Hollywood often hits. The vicious parts were a little overdramatic and the predictable twists just led to more run time that wasn’t really needed. Still it wrapped up nicely and had a self-gratifying finish, it just didn’t need to be that complicated.
I agree with many that Baby Driver is one awesome film. Despite the weird title (which yes is a song title), it works on many levels primarily in regards to a suspenseful action tale with strong story elements. Baby Driver is an example of what movies can be if done right and I for one recommend hitting this movie in theaters. Of note, use caution when taking younger audience members due to the violence please.
Movie Overall: 8.0