Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Baby Driver

Tonight I saw Baby Driver, starring Ansel Elgort and Jon Hamm.

Baby (Elgort) isn't your average getaway car driver. He's young. He's distracted (by music of his own choosing). He's got a seemingly endless supply of sunglasses.

He's not meant for a life of crime.

This story, really mostly about him, is a ride in itself—a genre-bending, hilarious, tragic, sentimental, endearing, tense thriller that doesn't give you much of a chance to breathe between scenes.

Baby's boss, Doc (Kevin Spacey), promises him he can leave the life once he's settled a debt that's unbeknownst to us. He achieves this in a heart-thumping heist scene and calmly returns home, where he cares for Joseph (CJ Jones), an elderly deaf man, in a run-down apartment. He also gets friendly with waitress Debora, who works at a nearby diner.

All along, Baby has a continuous soundtrack playing in his ears. The excuse given is tinnitus, but his knack for making music from his secretly taped conversations leads us to believe there could be more to it.

He gets to know many of the criminals he drives for along the way. Smoldering Buddy (Hamm), evil Bats (Jamie Foxx) and others. They are suspect of his youth and his earbuds and his incredible skill at operating motor vehicles.

There are too many twists and turns to properly take the story any further without spoiling, so I'll leave it there and simply say: Edgar Wright has outdone himself.

I'm a fan of his other work (Shaun of the Dead probably the most recognizable), but this is better. It's smarter. Sharper. Faster.

Above all else, it has rhythm. Since the storytelling is woven through music that our protagonist selects for his various moods and jobs, the film radiates with a series of songs that wouldn't feel out of place in the world of Tarantino. And yes, there's violence. And some language too.

But it remarkably doesn't feel gratuitous, and the Georgia accent on our hero makes him all that more appealing. There's even a love story for the romantics to fall for.

I may have to see it again.


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