Review: Baby Driver

Hey, now we’re doing something more recent.

Damn straight. Let’s start off with the basics: Baby Driver is a movie about a guy (code-?)named ‘Baby’ (Ansel Elgort) who works as a getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey) and his rotating band of robbery experts. Things get complicated when Baby decides to duck out of a heist to attempt to live a more care-free life with a newfound love interest. Action and chase scenes ensue.

Alright, there’s Kevin Spacey. Any other big names?

Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx do some acting as Buddy and Bats. Both of them carry the movie a little more than the title character or Kevin Spacey, for better and worse. Jon Hamm’s Buddy is a fun mirror to Baby, showing a guy who loves his job and his lady with equal amounts of affection. He’s a very exaggerated character who shines in the later acts as it becomes apparent how personal he takes his life work. Jamie Foxx’s Bats plays a great foil to the two, representing the dirtier side of the criminal world, to a almost purely evil level. Maybe it’s their acting chops, or maybe the fact that Ansel Elgort speaks very little even when he’s on screen, but the two put in a lot more characterization, plot movement, and action than Baby during their roles in the film.

What about Kevin Spacey?

Window dressing. He’s mostly there to provide background information and move the plot along. His performance is… weird, like he was told that he could do everything except openly break the fourth wall. Half of his comments seem so randomly self-aware that instead of coming off as an omniscient leader form the shadows, he sometimes just sounds like a guy who knowingly read ahead a few pages in the script. Not his best performance.

Shame. Say, what about the ladies? I’m noticing a bit of a sausagefest in these acting credentials.

Oh, were you wondering about the token love interest, the token girlfriend, or the two characters with one minute of screen time each?

Ouch.

Yeah, this isn’t really a SJW-approved film, but that’s okay; Wonder Woman’s still in theaters, so it balances out.

Anything else worth highlighting?

Not really. I feel like I’ve spoiled a few things already, and don’t want to go further into the plot than the trailers convey. A lot of the quality is in the jokes and the action scenes, which are somewhat ruined by prior explanation. I could also say that the soundtrack is great, and a big part of the movie. They attach some plot relevance to the soundtrack by making it about Baby’s tinnitus (mulp), but I feel that it’s unnecessary. They could’ve easily just said, ‘he likes music’ and moved on.

It establishes his backstory. With his parents and stuff.

But his backstory doesn’t weigh too well on the plot. The plot kind of revolves around the fact that he’s a ‘loving kid’, but everyone magically overlooks this one douchebag action he did to get into the criminal line of business. And then despite the fact that other characters have similar motivations to him, they’re cast as the villain because they’re not Baby. Ansel Elgort just gets a pass on his faults.

All of them?

Yes, all of them. Like, given a IQ of maybe 30, the movie could’ve ended at about four different points with less conflict and death than how it did. And two of these times, the best option was to just take the obvious approach, like, you’d have to go out of your way to fuck things up.

That’s a shame.

Don’t worry too much; a lot of this is fridge logic. When you’re watching, it’s unlikely you’ll hit these snags in your head. It’s an enjoyable film from beginning to end. Good action, good soundtrack, good writing. It’s just weird that the protagonist is one of the lower points of a movie that gets so much else right.

BabyDriverScorecard

 

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