From the director that brought you Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Shaun of the Dead, brings you one of the most high-octane movies of 2017, Baby Driver. This movie is a breath of fresh air in a world of high budget CGI laden blockbusters. With a budget of $34 million, this movie has done more than any other in a long time. It kept me invested until the end.
Out of the gate, this movie gives you thrills with The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion playing and a bank robbery in progress. Our protagonist doesn’t really speak much and always has a personal soundtrack playing thanks to his trusty iPod. After a thrilling car chase through Atlanta, we get to the true beginning of the movie. Baby is walking down the street listening to another great song. With Edger Wright’s usual visual flair, we see the lyrics of the song appearing on parts of the environment as the scene pans to a coffee shop.
Ansel Elgort shines here due to his unassuming look, while as he doesn’t look like your typical action hero, he does make up for it with his mannerisms and nonchalant nature. He’s not over the top. The supporting cast is great as well. Kevin Spacey is pretty much "Kevin Spacey" but more sweary. Jamie Foxx is great as a completely unhinged thief. Jon Hamm and Eliza Gonzalez are both awesome in their respective roles. To me the breakout characters are Joe (played by CJ Jones) and Debora (played by Lily James) as two characters that are outside of the main plot but integral to the story.
I loved this movie for many reasons. First off, this is how you do a proper throwback movie. It’s a serious movie with comedic parts. It’s a perfect throwback to the 70s and 80s style chase movies without being a parody or send up. Edger Wright put together an eclectic soundtrack that spanned not only decades, but genres of music, ranging from the aforementioned Jon Spencer Blues Explosion to Carla Thomas. That and they’re aren’t just songs slapped into scenes, they blend into the movie and are acknowledged by the cast with bits even sung along to. The car chases and action are both great with nearly every effect being practical, therefore it felt more real. Edger Wright is a perfect genre director, every film style he’s attempted has been great (which makes me wonder what his take on Ant-Man would have been like). That and with the smaller budget, you get to see his style at its finest. With most filmmakers, if you take away the high budget and give them just the minimum to make a film, you get to see their creativity flourish. While this is stylized, it’s also real and visceral. Since this is a genre picture, you also get performances from the cast that they aren’t really known for and they get to stretch their acting muscles in ways that bigger budgets just wouldn’t allow.
My only complaints about the movie is that certain parts felt rushed. The movie is a slow burn to a great ending, but stuff seemed to fast-forward in parts where you felt that the movie just needed to breath. Yet the climax of the movie ultimately made this a must own.
This movie has just been released for on demand services and will be soon on DVD and Blu-ray. I say give this one a rental and see if you want to own it. As for me, I’m going to buy this and add it to my movie night rotation; I feel this would go great coupled with The Big Lebowski.