Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez
Directed By: Edgar Wright
Plot: Baby (Elgort) is a young man who is indebted to a mafia-type (Spacey), so he’s the getaway driver for all his planned heists until he works off said debt. He meets a waitress (James) who makes him want to be a better person, and get out of the criminal life. Of course, things go awry, and getting out isn’t as easy as it seems.
What Works: I loved almost every single thing about this film. Edgar Wright has directed one of the best car chase sequences ever, as well as a foot chase scene that is fantastic as well. He’s managed to make a fresh, original film, for all of us tired of sequels. This film isn’t really like any other heist film, and Baby is certainly not like any other protagonist. Wright directed a rather terrific ensemble, getting some really good work out of Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm, and also Kevin Spacey (in one of those roles that only Kevin Spacey could play). While I still think Ansel Elgort needs more experience, overall I was impressed with him here. Also, Lily James, who doesn’t normally thrill me, actually did good work here too. The film has an expertly used soundtrack, which actually helps the movie, instead of hindering it. I even liked the inclusion of sign language, and thought the addition of that character was smart. I think my favorite Edgar Wright film will always be Shaun Of The Dead, but this runs a close second.
What Doesn’t Work: It just has a semi-slow second act, which is heightened in its slowness by the first act being so incredibly adrenaline charged. Baby Driver slams out of the gate, then slows down, and gradually speeds up again. It’s an odd choice, but I’ve seen a lot of films that have slower midsections, like they didn’t quite know how to connect Act 1 to Act 3. I think the middle could have been done better, with better pacing, and not brought the film’s overall speed down to a crawl.
Final Word: I really liked this film. Even with the slower second act, it gets a lot more points for being so damn original and taking some huge risks. Everyone came to play, and it shows. This is some of the most fun I’ve had in theatres this year. If you’re bored of sequels and remakes, then Baby Driver is right up your alley. I promise, you haven’t seen anything quite like it.
Final Grade: A-