Thursday, June 29, 2017

Baby Driver ***1/2 (2017)

Edgar Wright's exuberant Baby Driver is a movie for people who love movies. There's fantastic car chases, an eclectic array of music, and exciting heists.  A hip crime film with elements of the musical, pure cinematic energy carries Baby Driver over the top, a highlight of 2017.

Starring Ansel Elgort as expert driver "Baby" who offers his talents to professional criminals. There's a direct lineage with two other movies: Walter Hill's 1978 film The Driver and Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive from 2011, both movies about existential loners who drive for the rush of it.  Wright constructed a more relatable protagonist, giving "Baby" a worthy back story. An ear condition creates a non-stop buzz that he drowns out by constantly listening to music.

Wright surrounded Elgort with a top notch supporting cast with Jon Hamm and Elza Gonzalez as husband and wife bank robbers, Jamie Foxx as the loose cannon, and Kevin Spacey as Baby's menacing boss. Lily James plays a waitress who befriends Baby, she prevents the film devolving into a cold descent into violence.

Baby Driver is a pop song of a movie, moving along at a smooth pace with likable characters and crackling dialogue. My only criticism would be the movie tries to be too cool for its own good at times, as if in a desperate struggle to avoid the conventions of mainstream moves.  As a result, the last act gets predictable.

Still, Baby Driver is the ideal summer movie.  A triumph of cinematic vision and sound design, a breath of fresh air in a summer clogged with franchises and sequels.  Like Tarantino, Wright puts his encyclopedic knowledge of movies into action, leaving film buffs with all sorts of cool references to ponder.      

No comments:

Post a Comment