A phrase often thrown out by audiences to the suits residing in their movie studio funded mansions is, “give us more original content, everything is just a remake!” Whether or not you find that to be true or not is up for debate. Original material is released every year it’s just a matter of audiences going out and supporting them. This year’s poster child for original content is Edgar Wright’s new film, Baby Driver. A film every person who believes we as audiences are not given enough original material will flock out to and enjoy regardless of expectations.
This film follows the story of Baby (Ansel Elgort), yes his name is Baby, a getaway driver who for reasons you find out throughout the film is caught up in a life of crime he’s not fond of. He’s got a slight tick where he moves through his life and heist jobs to his own various soundtracks. With every passing job he gets closer to breaking out of this dirty lifestyle, but being the best in the business has a cost. Along Baby’s journey towards freedom he’ll meet the devilishy charming Deborah (Lily James) and together they’ll find their story is one that can’t reach a happy ending unless they take a few unconventional routes.
Out of the gate we’re introduced to Baby in his natural habitat; sitting in the driver seat and jamming out to one of his many playlists, an act everyone has been guilty of at one point or another. It was a genius way to show he is just like the rest of us before, without hesitation, switching gears and showing us why he is so sought after in the underground crime business. Truthfully I was never high on Ansel as a leading man based off his prior work, but his performance in this film blew me away. He was the quintessential quirky-genuine young adult with a heart of gold, but only capable of bending his moral compass so far before launching into pure survival mode.
Everyone in this film from Ansel as the lead all the way down to the innocent bank tellers are cast perfectly. Each role is full of life and oozing personality regardless if they have one minute of screen time or an hour. Kevin Spacey as the head of these heists is charmingly evil and yet for some reason you kind of want to be his friend. Jamie Foxx arguably steals the show as Bats, the tough criminal who thrives off trouble and getting in the last word. Jon Hamm finally got a role he was able to sink his teeth into as a thief who as an affinity for classic music and at times a soft spot for Baby. I can’t rave enough about this cast and how every single one of these actors and actresses shined in their respective roles. If there’s an award for casting directors, nominate everyone responsible for assembling this group.
The music is what keeps this film going, and felt like a character we were following along side Baby. The songs help drive the scenes forward both in plot and in the tone they are conveying. As I write it out it sounds like a gimmick and almost like a rip-off of Guardians, but Edgar Wright uses these songs in such a unique and fresh way that as you are watching it unfold, you cannot help but shake your head in pleasant disbelief.
As I sit here and write about this movie I do it with a huge grin across my face. Baby Driver is the original film people who hate blockbusters want, and the film people who only like blockbusters didn’t know they wanted. It’s film that goes on red and stops on green. It is a story we have seen before but done in a refreshing way I thought I knew where the story was going and was proved wrong every time. It is a film that has something for everyone in it and I believe will be the runaway surprise hit of the summer. As it stands now Baby Driver is my favorite film of 2017 and there are not enough words in my limited vocabulary that would do this movie justice so I’ll keep it simple, do yourself a favor and see it.