In this film season, when emphasis is on features aimed at younger audiences, Baby Driver fits into that class, but at a much higher level of quality, interest and sophistication.
Baby Driver is loaded with action and excitement without the use of computer generated images. The story keeps our attention sharply, often as we cling to the edge of our seats. And for sophistication, the characters are not simply dumb, crooked robots.
They are worldly-wise professional bad guys.
The title character, Baby (Ansel Elgort), is a young, highly skilled driver who specializes as the getaway man for a gang of robbers in Atlanta, GA. Baby was orphaned as a young boy when his parents were killed in an auto accident.
Baby was injured then and he still suffers from tinnitus, a constant ringing in the ears. He wears ear buds and has music playing all the time to help suppress the problem. An interesting part of the film is how so many of Baby’s movements and actions are synchronized with the music he’s hearing. Throughout the story, we constantly see the soft-hearted nature of Baby and we hope for him to get out of the bad life.
The opening scene in Baby Driver has Baby driving in a bank heist. When the three robbers run from the bank into the car, there is an extended car chase through the city. Baby is so skilled that he manages to escape the massive police posse chasing them. It is a very exciting, thrilling sequence to start Baby Driver and it is indicative of the style of the rest of the film.
Kevin Spacey is Doc, the mastermind behind the robberies. He uses a different team for each job, but always uses Baby as the getaway driver.
Baby has some debt to Doc and has no choice but to drive the getaway car each time. Baby has a burden he carries in the person of Joseph (CJ Jones). Joseph raised Baby after the accident that took his parents and now Joseph, aged, debilitated and deaf is cared for by Baby.
Baby meets a beautiful young waitress, Debora (Lily James), in a diner. A mutual attraction is immediate. Baby dreams and tries to realize the time he can get away from Doc and drive away — all over the world with Debora.
But Doc has one more job that needs Baby, and Doc is not taking no for an answer. The gang includes Bats (Jamie Foxx), a thoroughly mean killer who does not trust Baby and continually shows it. Buddy (John Hamm) is also a gunman, but he has no problem with Baby. Buddy’s girlfriend, Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), is as tough and handles guns as well as Buddy.
The planned robbery, at a local post office, goes bad and it turns into a violent ‘every man for himself’ debacle.
The climax of Baby Driver is dramatic, very noisy and exciting, but satisfying. The performances by Elgort, James and Hamm are powerful, and Foxx will make your backbone stiffen every time he snarls at Baby. Kevin Spacey is OK as Doc, but he doesn’t carry the film as he often does.
Baby Driver is at Harkins Sedona 6 theater.