Jul-4-2017

Reel Snippet – Baby Driver

Summary: They call him Baby (Ansel Elgort) and he’s the best getaway driver any criminal could ever work with. Despite his antisocial tendencies and the fact that he wears headphones all the time (even when driving), the crime lord Doc (Kevin Spacey) keeps using him for jobs because he’s the best at what he does. That, and the enormous amount of money Baby owes him. His foster father Joseph (CJ Jones) wishes a better life for Baby, which comes in the form of a beautiful waitress named Debora (Lily James). The two become quite taken with one another, but Doc still has his talons in his star driver and brings him onto a job with an unstable crew. Whatever it takes, Baby has to find a way to get control of his life and find the happy ending he’s needed for so long.

Review: Baby Driver is fresh, quirky, and overall outstanding. The writer/director, Edgar Wright, has been the mind behind some of my favorite movies, including Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This film is no less brilliant, overflowing with his standard offbeat wit and charm. So it makes me really happy that this movie gave him his first American domestic success at the box office because he is well overdue for it. Every scene is packed with memorable moments and characters, as well as loads of fun action.

If I had to pick a defining word for this movie, it would be “rhythm.” Rhythm plays a huge role in the action scenes, especially when Baby does his driving; it looks reckless, but it’s really poetry in motion. The rhythm of the plot is also really good — the action and heartwarming moments balance out perfectly, with some funny stuff balancing between them like a circus act. If this movie were a symphony, it would be a classic Vivaldi.

The acting is just superb in this flick, especially by Elgort who has to portray a flurry of emotions beneath a blank exterior. However, he also projects unrestrained emotions when interacting with loved ones like Joseph or Debora, so he has a great range on display. Kevin Spacey captures the threatening and smooth demeanor of a crime boss, but I guess anyone who’s seen House of Cards could have told me that. There are a lot of fun side characters too, like the criminal Jamie Foxx plays who is absolutely nuts. I suppose I should have expected no end of quirky and engaging characters from Edgar Wright.

There’s been some debate on whether or not Baby is on the autism spectrum, as a lot of viewers with autism identify with him (myself included). There’s enough vagueness that it could go either way, but I choose to believe that he is. Regardless, he is a protagonist with a disability as he’s stated to have tinnitus, not unlike my dad. So yeah, that’s part of the reason why I like this movie, but there are tons of reasons why you’ll probably like it. When all is said and done, it’s a superb mixture of style, substance, and soul.

Fun Tidbit #1: Don’t try looking for CGI or green screen borders. The car chases in this movie are 100% authentic. I’ll give you another tidbit while you pick your jaw off the floor.

Fun Tidbit #2: One thing that lends credence to the idea of Baby having autism is that he occasionally parrots lines verbatim from movies, particularly from The Little Rascals and Monsters Inc. Both films appear when Baby is flipping through channels on TV.


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