Although I wasn’t as head-over-heels for Baby Driver compared to some, a few even calling it subtle which this is not, this still is an entertaining time with a tried and oft successful plot and features some great car chases, the opening especially, and is worthy of a rental at the least.
Genre(s): Drama, Crime, Action, Musical
Sony | R – 112 min. – $34.99 | October 10, 2017
Date Published: 10/23/2017 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 3.5/5
Note: This review contains plot SPOILERS.
Edgar Wright has never really been a filmmaker I’ve loved compared to others with films like Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World being good but nothing phenomenal. And Baby Driver is more of the same: an enjoyable enough flick that doesn’t exactly live up to the praise from both the critics and audiences.
Baby Driver centers on a young, quiet and hot-shot getaway driver named, well, Baby (ANSEL ELGORT), who works for crime boss Doc (KEVIN SPACEY). We get a fantastic opening chase sequence as the crew — which includes Buddy (JON HAMM), Darling (EIZA GONZALEZ) and Griff (JON BERNTHAL) — robbing a bank and must outrun a plethora of cops managing better skills of escape than in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. It’s a job well done but as we discover, Doc takes most of Baby’s cut as a repayment for stealing Doc’s car a decade earlier… a car containing valuable product.
Baby, should be noted, has some sort of mental condition where he needs music, pumped in through ear buds, in order to function due to a fatal car crash that killed both his mother and abusive/aggressive father. This is why basically the entire film has such an diverse soundtrack with some admittedly great songs.
But his next job is to be his last job having paid his debt back. This one involves robbing a armored truck and has a new crew including Bats (JAMIE FOXX) a, as we find out later, clear psychopath who doesn’t exactly like Baby. Well, the job doesn’t go off as planned with one guard getting shot and a war veteran taking the law into his own hands and chasing down their getaway vehicle. But they do manage to avoid the cops in probably the second best chase sequence due to the clever way of escape.
Meanwhile, with Baby no longer dabbling in a life of crime (for now), he captures the attention of waitress Debora (LILY JAMES) as the pair have a love for music. Debora dreams of going west and not looking back, a dream Baby wants as well. But the past just won’t let go, and the past being Doc, threatening Baby to do another job or else he and those he loves will be hurt.
Alright, I’ll start with what I didn’t care for.
First, outside of Ansel Elgort, the performances aren’t anything special, though as is the case, Jon Hamm probably is the highlight of the supporting cast as the movie does liven up whenever he’s on screen (and for a good chunk of the second act, he is absent). Eiza Gonzalez is beautiful but not much to the character; Jamie Foxx is more or less portraying a similar character as in Horrible Bosses and Kevin Spacey appears on the bored side. Last, Lilly James has a bubbly personality to make the character believable enough and shares some contagious chemistry with Elgort.
Note #2: Seriously, I am getting into major SPOILERS now. So, skip if you have not already seen the movie. Please.
Second, and speaking of Spacey’s Doc character, I’m not entirely sure why his character made a 180 degree turn and a throwaway line about it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There was no set-up as to why Doc does what he does; in fact the character is utterly manipulative, if not downright dangerous, toward Baby. Compare that to Hamm’s Buddy, they clearly foreshadowed his change. With Spacey? Not so much.
Third, and we are getting into nitpick territory in a film that does go-over-the-top rather than any basis in reality, but the very end finds Baby getting arrested and gets sentenced to 25 years with the possibility of parole after 5. WTF? The guy was the driver to two felony robberies, one of which resulted in multiple murders, including cops. Maybe Georgia law is different, but normally someone involved in a murder during a robbery is just as guilty even if they did not fire or even varnish a gun. But we needed a happy ending after all.
So, now the good. As with Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim and Shaun of the Dead before it, the visual elements from Wright is amazing, even the opening credits have the lyrics “tagged” on the walls while Baby walks to and from getting coffee for the crew. The action and more specifically the car chases were well shot, a few kind of reminiscent of Ronin and The Bourne Identity. They’re not only fast paced but the frenetic action was exciting and at times clever, if not a bit convenient in one respect.
In the end, Baby Driver is no doubt a good movie with some well selected songs with scenes choreographed to them, but there were too many issues I had to classify it as some sort of masterpiece of filmmaking. But Ansel Elgort delivers a fine performance and as a whole it is well worth watching.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
This release comes with a slip cover and inside a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. I have to say, the features list on the back cover might have a cool look, but it’s really annoying when you try reading it… Just saying.
There is a fair amount of features here:
Both tracks are solid with the first solo one being a general overview of the project while the second is more scene-specific on the visual aspects.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (20:28; HD) – Here are 11 scenes, some of which are alternate song choices but nothing that would’ve expanded on the story or characters.
Behind the Scenes (TRT 45:15)
Selected Scene Animatics (35:42; HD) – Here you can look at 8 key scenes: First Heist Original, First Heist Pre-Shoot, Killer Track Original, Killer Track Re-Shoot, Masked Raiders, Farmer’s Market Live Action, Farmer’s Market Animated, Foot Chase
Rehearsals & Pre-Production (17:03; HD) – Under this banner, you can watch Ansel Elgort’s audition tape, annotated coffee run rehearsal, hair and make-up & costumes tests.
Last up is a Music Video (4:15; HD) for ‘Blue Song’ by Mint Royale, Complete Storyboard Gallery and some Promos (21:10; HD) which includes trailers and TV spots.
VIDEO – 4.25/5
|Baby Driver accelerates and drifts onto Blu-ray presented in its original 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture here looks sharp throughout and colors are generally bright and have a nice pop to them. There were no obvious signs of artifacts or aliasing. While it does look good, kind of was hoping for more oomph to a movie like this.|
AUDIO – 4.5/5
|Still perplexes me why Sony (and Fox for that matter) provides the newer, and oft better, Atmos tracks on their 4K releases but straps these with the DTS-HD Master Audio versions. As it is, the 5.1 track sounds really good belting out the eclectic soundtrack plus some good depth for the various action scenes while dialogue sounds crisp and clean coming from the center speaker.|
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, although I wasn’t as head-over-heels for Baby Driver compared to some, a few even calling it subtle which this is not, this still is an entertaining time with a tried and oft successful plot and features some great car chases, the opening especially, and is worthy of a rental at the least. The Blu-ray has good video and audio transfers and a great selection of bonus material.
Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.