This review was written by Anthony J Digioia. Follow him and his website here for more awesome reviews: SilverScreen Analysis
“BABY DRIVER” is written and directed by Edgar Wright. The cast is filled by; Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Eiza González, Lily James and Jamie Foxx. The story follows Baby, a young man who has no choice but to be a getaway driver for a crime-boss. He is successful at his job but doesn’t want to continue the work he is forced to do. So when an upcoming heist shows many signs of failure, Baby will use it as the opportunity to try and leave the criminal world behind.
Now in a world where we see the same formula for success copied in virtually every facet of life, it is always a breath of fresh air to see something unique. Something that shows, ambition and creativity, all of which “Baby Driver” has in its corner. It was not a perfect film and did have its flaws. But it still was a very entertaining movie. So, let’s get in to what this film did very well.
The strongest aspect of this movie was a combination of two things. Character performances and story-telling. First, the character performances. Ansel Elgort was excellent in this movie and shines in the lead role with a strong charisma in his persona of the young driver. There are layers to this character and the story develops them with a nice pace as Elgort conveys the angles with a subtle realism. You are assumed to expect he is an excellent driver with minimal explanation, but there was more this his character than that. His character is dealing with grief, he doesn’t feel comfortable or content with his place in life. Yet he still goes about his day with a mild enthusiasm and this optimistic personality will help connect you with his character in a positive way.
Kevin Spacey was good in this role. He brought his cocky, confident and arrogant character persona from his portfolio. Which was funny because he plays the criminal version of his character from the first “Horrible Bosses” and Jamie Foxx virtually plays an expanded version of his character from the same movie. But for the sake of this story those personalities work for what the plot and script needed them to accomplish. Eiza González and Jon Hamm play the typical Bonnie & Clyde character and they pull it off. They both add some depth to their common roles, and like the rest of the cast, share a strong chemistry. Something this film had all-around making their various dynamics come off as believable.
Lily James was also very good in her performance despite her character being the weakest in terms of writing and development. She was crucial to the love angle of this story and she pulls it off as much as she could. But the writing for this relationship with Baby, one that was to convey young love. Was overly convenient and a tad melodramatic but not to the point of being a drawback to the entertainment, just nothing that could make it more enjoyable.
The plot doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but Edgar Wright implements some key elements to it that add a lot of fresh energy into an otherwise common plot-line. He infuses music into this story very effectively and in the end, he makes this movie and cross genre film between an action movie, a comedy, and a musical. The music was not only the beat of the film audibly, but it was incorporated into the story with some meaning. Not only because of the medical condition Baby suffered from, but how he used music to escape from his life and connect with fond memories he had as a child.
There was a great blend of songs that all leave a lasting impression with their tone and placement in particular scenes and they help to immersive you in to the action-sequences. They give you that feeling of romance when Elgort and James are building their relationship. They also inject some humor into certain moments when added with the right scenario or bit of dialogue.
The car-sequences were also extremely well shot and Wright as the director did a great job of delivering the vision he had on paper. The scenes were intense, well-choreographed and will have you up on edge as the stunts show a lot of ambition, without seeming overly unrealistic.
Now on the downside. The story did have some pacing issues. There was a lull late in the second-act as the story seems to stop progressing for a handful of scenes. There were also some decisions made in the third-act that felt a little like it was trying to get too cute, and it did sort of evolve the story further than it needed to in my opinion. Also, the romance between the two young characters did serve its purpose but it was a little too convenient. It sort of felt like it was going through the young love development checklist and without enough substance to the dynamic, the character of Debora comes off as very naïve.
Overall though, “Baby Driver” was a great time. It was very engaging and I definitely recommend checking it out. It blends grounded humor with some common characters that are definitely elevated with a great cast. With the laughs, the action, the music and the personality, this movie gives you a little bit of everything.