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Baby Driver




Baby Driver (R)
Film Reviews by Amy Diaz

07/06/17
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



Writer-director Edgar Wright, of Shaun of the Dead fame, offers fast cars and furious heists in Baby Driver, an excellent mixtape with a great movie attached to it.

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver for robbery crews lovingly curated by crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey). Doc doesn’t use the same mix of criminals twice but he always uses Baby, who can outrun police with skill. In addition to a taciturn nature, Baby is known for his constant wearing of earbuds, which play music to help drown out the tinnitus that is the result of a childhood car accident. Thus does Baby score a robbery and getaway to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion doing “Bellbottoms” and his coffee runs to “Harlem Shuffle.” 
When Baby meets Debora (Lily James), the new waitress at his favorite diner, he finds a fellow music-lover — one of their first conversations is about how few “Debora”-related songs there are and how many songs mention “Baby.” Debora, music and the open road is Baby’s dream for his future but his ties to Doc keep him in a life he doesn’t want and one that, he realizes as he falls for Debora, could put her at risk. This becomes particularly clear during a job with Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) and Bats (Jamie Foxx), a mix of criminals that quickly proves more volatile and violent than usual.
A story of childhood trauma, violent crime, car chases, sugary young romance and music fandom shouldn’t swirl together into a satisfying smoothie (punctuated with a tart sense of humor) but it does here. When Baby dances around his apartment, flawlessly blending lip-syncing and signing to his deaf foster dad (DJ Jones), yes, you sense that the movie is showing off. But awesomeness can get away with a little showing off and this movie is consistently awesome. 
Because music is such a huge part of the movie, I found myself thinking of all the onscreen action — from the car chases to character interactions to scene changes — as choreography, and this movie is as well choreographed as it is scored. (And scored, it’s worth mentioning, not just with great music but also, at just the right moments, with the whine and other noises that Baby apparently hears.) The movie manages to be fun with the way it’s stylized without being silly, and to be stylized without minimizing the violence or the menace.
If Baby Driver has a flaw, it’s that maybe its final moments aren’t as strong as the movie leading up to it, but that is such a high bar that even in its least impressive moments the movie is a solid A.
Rated R for violence and language throughout. Written and directed by Edgar Wright, Baby Driver is an hour and 53 minutes long and distributed by TriStar Pictures. 
 

 






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