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Monday, July 3, 2017

Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver
Edgar Wright has officially made his mark with Baby Driver, and by that I mean, he's turning a would-be cult-classic into a smash-hit at this very moment. And I don't believe, for a single second, that he had to compromise anything in this film to do it. So, what does that give us?

Baby Driver is the heist film for the new millennium (not "for the millennial," don't start thinking that), following the getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) on his last few jobs as he tries to get out of the business and settle into the quieter life. He's earned it, as demonstrated by the break-neck opening getaway.

Wright's chases aren't just fast, they're smart, properly paced, and take risks. Baby uses every (realistic) trick in the book, everything we dreamed while stuck in traffic, running late, and/or just cruising. The only difference between him and everyone else in the driver's seat is he goes for it, and will run through the guardrails or down those hills to get off the highway. (Seriously, why don't we plant more trees in those open areas?)

If this doesn't sound like everyone else in the world, does jamming in the car and blasting music at least sound close because not only does he do that, but Elgort makes it a cornerstone of his performance. Roughly 80-percent of his work is non-verbal and synched to a track, and that track was specially crafted, not just selected, to the film. It may sound like Baby's got his own Awesome Mix, but Wright either thought ahead or was quick-to-adapt because he sets himself apart from that by miles. A cassette player gives Guardians support, whereas an old iPod gives Baby Driver everything, but without the film living or dying based on the specific tunes (which are top-notch anyway).

Rounding out the cast, Lily James is the perfect partner for Elgort, and luckily given much more to do in this than in Cinderella. Her character, Deborah, plays the perfect partner in crime for him, but not in the typical her crazy matches his crazy way. They're not crazy, just their circumstances are, thanks to the rest of the cast.

Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, Jamie Foxx, and Eiza González are their own little ensemble in Baby Driver, and if we were to follow any of them instead, we'd apply that last sentence to them as well. Wright takes it to heart that "we're the good guys" is a relative term, at least to a point.

There is a point where Baby Driver does shift into a different gear (sorry for that one), and you may not completely be on board with that, but the consistency is with the characters. Stick with them, and the movie will stick with you in return. If you find yourself home alone at the end of the night, it's a guarantee that your speakers will be getting a workout, and you will too.