SXSW 2017: “Baby Driver” MOVIE REVIEW

Baby Driver

(Photo via Sony Pictures)

Edgar Wright returns to the silver screen better than ever with his latest, Baby Driver. This has been a passion project for the British filmmaker for about 20 years, and was finally able to have his dream of an action comedy musical come to a reality. I’m as big a fan of Wright’s work as many of his fans are (He’s behind the Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgram vs. the World), so I waited in the cold Austin rain for about 3 hours last night to see the world premiere, and it did not disappoint. The result is a fun, action-packed, musical of sorts that could end up being a sleeper hit this summer when it’s released.

Ansel Elgort plays Baby, the titular hero of this story. Baby is a getaway driver for a powerful crime boss (Kevin Spacey) in Atlanta, and is indebted to him. Baby typically runs with Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eliza Gonzalez) when on jobs, but is joined by Bats (Jamie Foxx) a hot-head who doesn’t seem to trust or know Baby all that well. As Baby is trying to get out of the game, he meets Deborah (Lily James), a waitress that shares his love of classic tunes like he does.

This is Edgar Wright’s first film that he wrote and directed by himself, without the help of any co-writers (like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost). There’s something about Edgar Wright that I’ve always loved and admired him for as a director, and that’s his visual style and sensibilities as a director. The quick cutting, the kinetic shooting where the camera is either always moving or it never stays on one shot for too long. Some filmmakers try to have a similar style in telling their stories, but Wright is one of the few that can make it really compelling and exciting, without it ever feeling dumb or gimmicky. There’s always a reason in his stories for this style, and with this one being about a getaway driver with some very exciting car chases and shootouts, it fits perfectly.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Elgort as an actor, but I really liked him in his performance. He fit the role perfectly as the quiet, often stoic but genuinely good human being that is Baby. Jon Hamm gives what might be the best film performance of his career by far as the charismatic and charming Buddy, and Jamie Foxx has a lot of fun with his role as the hot-head Bats. Kevin Spacey can give the performance he gives basically in his sleep and it would still be compelling, and he’s great as always. It’s very rare for the actor to give a bad performance, and I’m happy that Wright cast him in this role.

There’s never a dull moment in this film. I might’ve felt tired at times watching it primarily due to the fact that we waited three hours in the rain to see it, but I won’t hold that against the movie. Baby Driver is a blast to sit through, and I’m basically just repeating what everybody else has been saying. This might be my favorite film that Wright has ever done (even more than the Cornetto Trilogy), and I hope you’ll go check this one out when it lands this summer. This has the making of a sleeping hit, and I feel that the CG-lite and stunt heavy Baby Driver will play great to the audience that will definitely have blockbuster/superhero movie fatigue by the time it comes out.

Final Rating:

B+

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