Skip to main content

SHAZAM! Review 'It really is a perfect origin story'

Movie Review: Baby Driver

Edgar Wright’s latest is the perfect getaway.


Review by Brandon Wolfe

Baby (Anson Elgort), the protagonist of Edgar Wright’s delightful new film Baby Driver, looks for all intents and purposes like your standard-issue millennial. The disaffected gaze and the earbuds constantly snaking up either side of his head are the major signposts. Yet that descriptor doesn’t suit Baby too well. He shows no discernible interest in any form of social media, for one, and he takes in his beloved tunes through such outdated means as cassette tapes and first-generation clickwheel iPods, without a whiff of hipster irony. Baby also exhibits a unique personality, hovering somewhere between Ferris Bueller “the world is my stage” exuberance and something like mild autism. He’s a true original, a teen character that defies any of the easy pigeonholing that befalls most of his fictional ilk. And that’s before you factor in that the kid is the best getaway driver in the business.

Baby Driver, Wright’s first film since 2013’s sublime The World’s End, is one of the purest cinematic pleasures you will likely experience all year. It’s a film that is resolutely alive, that hums with kinetic drive. Wright always brings a livewire vitality to everything he does, but he reaches a personal pinnacle here. Wright’s filmmaking, his eclectic use of music (via Baby’s constant, often diegetic life-soundtrack), his cast’s all-on-the-table comedic verve, all of it adds up to an experience that energizes you without any cheap tricks or empty spectacle. There will be a Transformers movie playing in the next auditorium over from this film that functions as an aggressive, non-stop barrage of bombastic action sequences set to a cacophony of booms and clanging noises. It’s a dead fish next to this.


Baby is under the reluctant criminal employ of a local Mr. Big called Doc (Kevin Spacey at his Spaciest), who organizes elaborate thefts with a revolving cast of players. Yet Baby is the only constant in Doc’s operation, partly because of his exceptionalism behind the wheel, yet also because Doc sees the kid as something of a good luck charm. Baby’s seeming detachment from his surroundings—always appearing lost in his music, yet still keenly aware of everything around him—places him at odds with the more seasoned and volatile members of Doc’s troupe, like hair-trigger hothead Bats (Jamie Foxx) or the scuzzy, PDA-prone duo of Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza Gonzalez, who was never this good on that terrible From Dusk Till Dawn TV show). These goons wield shotguns and clean out banks, but it’s Baby who can wheel them to safety no matter the circumstances.

Yet Baby wants out of the life, so he can stop disappointing his deaf and disabled foster father Joe (CJ Jones) and finally make something happen with Debora (Lily James), the luminous diner waitress who has caught his eye. And even though Doc promises the proverbial One Last Job, there’s never a true exit strategy when you’re extremely valuable to dangerous people. But when the plans for the latest theft start going off the rails, due to Bats’ instability and fate roping Baby’s personal life into his professional one, Baby is forced to try and extricate himself from his profession for good. Doing so proves as messy as you might expect.


In the unlikely event that Edgar Wright ever chooses to rebrand himself as a franchise director-for-hire, Baby Driver would indicate that he’d do a masterful job with a Fast & Furious sequel. The car sequences in this film have the sort of crackling energy that those films have largely abandoned upon taking on event-movie bloat. It’s not that Wright is necessarily doing things particularly innovative with his chase scenes, but rather how deftly he executes them. The aforementioned soundtrack plays heavily into this. As Baby is almost never separated from his tunes (which isn’t just a character quirk; he’s drowning out the tinnitus he was left with from the car accident that orphaned him years earlier), there is scarcely a scene in Baby Driver that isn’t goosed by great music. We get Beck, Run the Jewels, Young MC, T. Rex, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and, most prominently featured, Queen’s “Brighton Rock.” Wright raiding his iTunes playlists for ammo pays off in glorious ways.

In a summer season where nearly all of the biggest blockbusters are hitting air balls (except for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; speaking of, quick aside, Baby Driver feels almost exactly like an earthbound depiction of Peter Quill: The Yondu Years), Baby Driver feels like a true event movie. Refreshing, original, enthralling, and just brimming with life. Elgort is fantastic in the film (since the Han Solo movie is falling apart, is it too late to get him in there?), abetted by the lovely Lily James, the two of whom combine to create the most genuinely endearing movie romance in ages. The film does fall prey to an ending that feels a bit too pat, too simplistic, but who cares? We’ve already gotten away with plenty of loot by then.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Brandon Wolfe at @BrandonTheWolfe.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#ADogsPurpose Arrives On Digital HD On April 18 & On Blu-ray Combo Pack On May 2

An uplifting and inspirational look at life through the eyes of man’s best friend warms hearts this spring when A Dog’s Purpose arrives on Digital HD on April 18, 2017 and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on May 2, 2017, from Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. An empathetic and relatable drama, this sentimental film takes viewers on a powerful journey to experience the relationship between dogs and their owner – to love, protect, comfort and always find a way back home.




Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, from director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Dear John, The 100-Foot Journey), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad – Frozen, Angry Birds) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love. A narrative with “genuine heart, humor and a real message of love” (Michael Heaton, The Plain Dealer), the fami…

Enter For A Chance To Win A Passes To See To MISSING LINK In ALBUQUERQUE

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See MISSING LINK on April 6th at 11:00 AM in ALBUQUERQUE.

Meet Mr. Link: 8 feet tall, 630 lbs, and covered in fur, but don’t let his appearance fool you… he is funny, sweet, and adorably literal, making him the world’s most lovable legend. Tired of living a solitary life in the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Link recruits fearless explorer Sir Lionel Frost to guide him on a journey to find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight, our fearless trio of explorers encounter more than their fair share of peril as they travel to the far reaches of the world to help their new friend.



CLICK HERE TO ENTER-

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/MissingLinkFilm
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/LaikaStudios
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/MissingLinkFilm
WEBSITE: http://www.missinglink.movie/
#MissingLink

IN THEATERS APRIL 12

SEATING IS LIMITED, SO ARRIVE EARLY.

PASS DOES NOT GUARANTEE A SEAT AT THE SCREENING.

This …

Enter For A Chance To Win A Passes To See To MISSING LINK In LAS VEGAS

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See MISSING LINK on April 6th at 11:00 AM in LAS VEGAS.

Meet Mr. Link: 8 feet tall, 630 lbs, and covered in fur, but don’t let his appearance fool you… he is funny, sweet, and adorably literal, making him the world’s most lovable legend. Tired of living a solitary life in the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Link recruits fearless explorer Sir Lionel Frost to guide him on a journey to find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight, our fearless trio of explorers encounter more than their fair share of peril as they travel to the far reaches of the world to help their new friend.



CLICK HERE TO ENTER-

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/MissingLinkFilm
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/LaikaStudios
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/MissingLinkFilm
WEBSITE: http://www.missinglink.movie/
#MissingLink

IN THEATERS APRIL 12

SEATING IS LIMITED, SO ARRIVE EARLY.

PASS DOES NOT GUARANTEE A SEAT AT THE SCREENING.

This sc…