By Ciara Rouege
‘Baby Driver’ didn’t park in the numero uno spot for highest grossing movies at the box office this weekend, debuting at $30 million, but it could cruise into my top 10 favorite flicks for 2017.
In the movie, we meet a good kid named Baby (Ansel Elgort) and he’s mixed up with some bad people— a crook (Jon Hamm), a killer (Jamie Foxx) and a hoochie coochie (Eiza González). Yes, that line is particularly cliché but so is the movie’s baseline plot and the character motivations.
No shade, brah! Just shades as Baby twirls across the screen hypnotizing me with that sexy, Elvis-esque accent and smooth showtime dance moves.
Baby lost his parents, a gorgeous waitress with an angelic singing voice and an abusive drunkard of a husband, during a violent car crash that left the protagonist with a hearing impairment. Traumatized and trapped between two headphones, Baby becomes a notorious carjacker at an impressively young age.
Of course, the kid eventually steals the wrong ride and becomes indebted to a debonair and meticulous crime boss played by Kevin Spacey.
Baby spends his childhood paying off his debt to Doc, but on some usual bullshit, he can’t stop being a getaway driver — even after making amends — because the head hancho threatened to break his legs, kill his newly found girlfriend (Lily James) — blah, blah, blah.
After countless jobs, and some not-so-subtle foreshadowing delivered by Jon Bernthal, Baby reluctantly takes on his first post-debt assignment. And SHOCKER! It goes absolutely, terribly, the-universe-hates-you wrong and his moral GPS is put to the test.
However, ‘Baby Driver’ is one of those rare instances where expectations for an all-star cast are actually met. You’re perpetually kept in the moment because you’re immersed in the characters– their accents, their reactions, their interactions, their hangups, their quirks. You’re only given enough background info– most of which is given in blatant exposition– to understand the movie. No one is winning an Oscar with those lines, but the characters were colorful and the acting was– well, good! Each actor brought their talent and not just their resume to the set.
Like many, I’m a big fan of Edgar Wright and that leave-early, come-late style. He also has a heightened understanding of visual humor and a sense of pacing that really turns me on. The movie has the typical running time, clocking in at a little over 90 minutes, but there weren’t any scenes that felt drawn out or unnecessary. Most movies can barely handle one chase scene, but this one had several and I didn’t take a bathroom break during any of them. So, kudos!
Yes, I’m bashing this movie for being cliche– but it’s in no way run of the mill. Pedestrians weren’t killed off like flies like in most action movies. It maintained it’s humanity, hanging on to a sense of death and danger. It also took a few turns at the end that I genuinely didn’t expect. But I’ll keep those to myself– you should see this movie for yourself!
Lastly, it’s a comedic action film. The action sequences are well choreographed and the jokes are funny– and that always makes for a good time at the theater. I was wide-eyed watching Baby make his mad dash from the coppers, and I may have choked on my own spit a little when Doc pressed play on Baby’s shitty, natural sounds mix tape.
And don’t think I forgot! The movie also boosts a fucking killer soundtrack– Queen, Martha and the Vandellas, The Dammed, Barry White, Young MC — enough said! The whole movie was made to the tune of “Bellbottoms” by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
But, aye! Having a killer soundtrack has definitely become the standard. We’re only halfway through the big summer movie releases, but I’m confident ‘Baby Driver’ will remain in my top 10 long after the Texas swelter simmers down.
So, full speed to the box office!