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Movie Review: Baby Driver (2017)

Image result for Baby Driver poster

Saw this film at the Manor Theater in Squirrell Hill last night (which, incidentally, is a great place to see a film; there's a little bar/lounge area inside and you can take your drink into the movie). If a poster has ever sold a film, this film's poster sold me. All I needed to know was a.) it was called Baby Driver, which alone was enough for me, b.) it looked like a classic block-buster summer action movie, precisely the kind of movie you need to see on a hot summer night in the comfort of your local air-conditioned theater. I mean...look at that poster. 

I love a good car chase film, and haven't really seen a good one since Drive (2011) which absolutely blew me away. Baby Driver has some of the arty, carefully-produced and stylized qualities of Drive, but Baby Driver tries to be -- and succeeds -- at being a bit more light-hearted and fun. 

What are some of the high-points of this film?

  • Incredible car-chase scenes, naturally; some of the best I've ever seen
  • Killer soundtrack. Part of the plot is that the main character, Baby, has an ear condition requiring him to listen to music all the time to drown-out a buzzing in his ears. Perfect opportunity to make this film basically a two-hour music video...and it works.
  • Jon Hamm as a former Wall Street banker turned heist-pulling bad boy. Not sure if I'm quite yet able to see him as anything but Don Draper, but damned if I don't like seeing Jon Hamm's handsome face up there on screen doing just about anything. Released from the confines of his role on Mad Men (the greatest show of all time), Hamm brings an odd kind of wily, wry humor to whatever role he plays now, somewhat like Vince Vaughn IMHO but less manic. 
  • Heavily stylized production. What do I mean by this? You'll have to watch it to find out. But little details such as matching gunshots to the beats of certain songs, or the scene in the laundromat in which every washing machine is spinning with brightly colored red, yellow, or blue clothing, in alternating machines, or the scenes in which Baby dance-walks through town or though his apartment listening to music. I want to feel like these details are cheesy. I really want to, but I can't. I liked them and they worked in this world.
  • Kevin Spacey. Not his greatest role, but once again, I just love Kevin Spacey. He can almost do no wrong in my eyes. 
  • Lily James as Baby's love interest, a waitress who works in his favorite diner. Again, probably not the role of this actresses life, but she's absolutely gorgeous in this film, incredible to look at, and adds a much needed break from the almost constant action.
  • Jamie Foxx as the whacked-out theif, Bats, who is suspcious of Baby's clean-cut ways.
  • I wasn't like super impressed with Ansel Elgort (Baby), and I did find his performance a little cutesy at times, but by the end of the film he really grew on me. I will look for him in other stuff, to see if he's got any range of if the "shy stud" thing ala Josh Hartnett is all he can do. 
Two thumbs up. Go see it.

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