Baby Driver (2017)
Critic Consensus: Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack, Baby Driver hits the road and it's gone -- proving fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills.
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Critic Reviews for Baby Driver
Put in your metaphorical earbuds, turn the key in the ignition, and enjoy the cinematic highlight of the summer so far.
Oozing menace as addicted bank robbers, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm are all the more charismatic thanks to Bill Pope's luscious noir photography. Credit Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss for the razor-sharp editing.
Edgar Wright's Baby Driver is one of the most entertaining thrill rides of this year, this decade.
This is not a philosophy of criminology, or a new pathology of antisocial behavior, but it makes for a terrific night at the movies.
Wright's movie delivers action that's convincing and concrete - the cars seem real, even when the people don't.
Audience Reviews for Baby Driver
Stupid name for a heist movie, unless that movie is a kids comedy all about a bloke having to drive babies around during a heist. Or maybe an adult who drives like a baby or some shit like that. Why hasn't anyone made a comedy about learner drivers yet? You could call it 'Learner Driver', hey that's not a bad idea (copyrighted). So this is a heist movie. In this movie a mysterious kingpin (?) called Doc (Kevin Spacey) uses various people to pull off various daring jobs, but he always uses the same driver. This driver is a young man called Baby or Miles (Ansel Elgort). Apparently Doc caught Baby breaking into his car many years prior and was so impressed with his skills that he decided to use him for his heists. Naturally Baby had to comply or face the obvious consequences. Now for a long time every heist has gone well for Doc, but clearly that doesn't last and that's the main crux here. So straight away there are various questions here. Firstly, who is Doc exactly? What is this guys deal? Where does he come from? How is he so powerful? What does he do? Nothing is explained about this character and its kinda frustrating because he simply doesn't come across like a bad guy (especially with Spacey's performance). The fact he also makes such glaring mistakes with his decisions also raises questions about how he's managed to gain so much power. Doc uses Baby as a getaway driver despite the fact he's literally only a teenager, or at least in his early 20's. Yeah OK Baby is a good driver, but is that still a good decision? To use such a young person as your heist getaway driver?? I can think of many problems that might arise with that. Doc also claims to never use the same people for each heist, but he does! He also uses Baby for every heist so what is he talking about. Then at one point when the gang suspects Baby of being an informant, and the fact he's being telling his foster father all about their deeds; Doc and co still allow him to carry on being their getaway driver! These are what you call eye rolling movie decisions. Now lets look at Baby, why is he called Baby? Dunno. This young man has tinnitus from an accident as a child (which killed his parents). Since then he's been raised by a black man who is deaf. Is it me or does that sound both unnecessarily pc and kinda counter productive? Would a deaf (apparently single?) man be the right choice to raise a child with tinnitus? I honesty don't know, it just seems like an odd decision, but hey what do I know. So Baby is a good driver, again we don't know how this is, it just is. He's a good driver don't question it. Baby is also very much into his music, mainly because of the tinnitus. He listens to music virtually all the time and uses it to help him concentrate, even on heist jobs. The weird part is he often records people (without consent) and uses snippets of their speech to make mix tapes. Its a very odd part of his character and really doesn't make any sense, or it didn't to me. So things all go wrong for Doc when he uses a (quota pleasing) team consisting of a couple of crooks who are in love, Buddy and Darling (Jon Hamm and Eiza González), and the violent Bats (Jamie Foxx). Of course the highly predictable outcomes are all a result of the highly predictable out of control character Bats. Because a trigger-happy, tattooed, ghetto lunatic is what you need in your specialised heist team, what could go wrong? The other two don't really do much other than smooch, although Buddy does stick up for Baby at times leading you to think he's a good guy. All the while Doc is supposed to be intimidating...but really isn't. What follows is a bog standard turn of events that see the plot holes get bigger and bigger. At one point after discovering one of Baby's mix tapes Bats and Buddy decide to go back to his place to get the rest of his stash, and question his foster father. Bats proceeds to knock Baby out...but how did they then manage to find Baby's place?? When the heist goes wrong and the police react, I don't believe any of the cops actually saw Baby involved in any way. Yet Baby runs off, and continues running even when in the clear, which would obviously cause the police to follow out of suspicion (as they would in reality, if you run you've got something to hide). Baby continues to escape by then carjacking and driving like a lunatic...which again will always make you stick out like a sore thumb. Why do characters in movies never get this?? You wanna blend into a crowd of people or traffic, act or drive normally, don't run or drive like a nut. Anywho the movie is formulaic right down to the last moment where Buddy keeps popping up despite Baby shooting him point blank (in the shoulder?? How did he fuck that up??). The only thing that got me was the fact Baby didn't go down in a blaze of glory, or escape fully. But then we get this dreadful soppy ending which is even worse so...I find myself baffled by the reaction to this movie, once again I just don't get it. It didn't offer anything much in terms of originality, except for the main protagonist having hearing issues; and everything action wise was terribly average. I think the thing that disappointed me the most was the trailer giving me the impression that Baby drove a Subaru Impreza for the whole movie, which he didn't.
With his "Cornetto trilogy" and Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Edgar Wright has amassed a fervent following. He's a director that can seemingly do no wrong in many people's eyes but this enthusiasm is one that I've often questioned. I don't think that Wright has produced enough overall quality to be considered so highly in people's estimations. Stylistically, he's fantastic and there's always an energy and a plethora of good ideas on display but I've always struggled with how much mileage he tries to squeeze out of his material and how he brings his stories to a close. Baby Driver, as enjoyable as it is, suffers a similar fate. Plot: Crime boss, Doc (Kevin Spacey) is a meticulous planner of robberies but the one Ace in his pack is getaway driver, Baby (Ansel Elgort). Baby has a partial hearing impairment but when he's listening to music, there's nothing he can't do when maneuvering a vehicle. Baby doesn't want this life anymore, though. All he wants is to spend time with his new girlfriend, Deborah (Lily James) but when she comes under threat, Baby is forced back into working with Doc and a crew of unstable thugs in order to break free for good. There's a lot of impressive ratings and reviews flying around for Baby Driver and they seem to be coming from very reputable critics into the bargain. I would love to feel invited to the party but for as much as Baby Driver is exciting and hugely enjoyable it has issues that prevent me from agreeing with the majority of overly positive buzz surrounding it. For a start, the film begins so enthusiastically that the rest of the film never quite matches its early promise. Credit where it's due, though, Wright has crafted a very clever take on the heist film and plays things out with a blend of La La Land's musical numbers and the stylish and exciting getaway scenes from Drive. It would seem that there's certainly one thing Wright got wrong and that was his failure to cast Ryan Gosling. Throw his expertise into the mix and this could have achieved another half star. Jesting aside, if you don't put Baby in the corner and just let him do his thing, there's plenty to enjoy here. The eponymous Ansel Elgort is a more than able lead and he delivers a fine central performance where his reservation is complimented by his background in dancing. He's abley surrounded with an impressive and colourful collection of support as well; Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx trying to outdo each other in the menacing stakes is a lot of fun in itself and it's great to see them spearheaded by the reliable and infinitely watchable Kevin Spacey. There's no denying that it's a great cast but even they are overshadowed by the structure and panache of Wright's approach. It's his use of music that's the biggest draw and Wright skillfully blends an abundance of classic tracks that seemlessly fit the action onscreen - he even times Baby's movements to the beats of the particular song that plays at any given time. From this, it's obvious that he's done his homework on synchronising this whole thing together - with the occasional nod to the influence of Tarantino and how he incorporates music in his films. The thing is... apparently Wright had been mulling this project over for two decades. With that in mind, I'd have thought that within that time he would have been able to iron out some flaws in his screenplay. I feel as if I'm being unfair on the film as it's not my intention to overly criticise something that I found to be very lively and entertaining but I'm a bit taken aback that most critics seem to be glossing over the film's problems. These are most apparent in the denouement where Wright seems to run out of ideas. Shootouts become preposterous and his villains become caricatures while the motivation and behaviour of Spacey's character, in particular, changes so dramatically that you're left wondering if you've missed something. There's so denying that the film is a welcome breath of fresh air but it's not groundbreaking in any sense and, again, fuels the fire that Edgar Wright endeavours often have. It's a great idea and it's delivered with aplomb but on a basic basis it's nothing more than entertainment. This isn't a bad thing per se, but it's not revolutionary or likely to achieve any classic status. Despite succumbing to formula, Edgar Wright does a good job of providing the thrills. It's not perfect but I'd still goes as far to say that it's his most accomplished endeavour. It's snappy, it's fast paced and it has an abundance of style. These attributes alone make it worthwhile. Mark Walker
Incredible car chases, a thick, pulsating soundtrack, lickety-split editing, and choreographed moves very nearly like a musical, or at least a music video, this is one bad boy that ain't sorry for a thing. Enjoy some stone legit movie magic for a change.
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