Granger on Film / “Baby Driver” revs up for adrenaline-propelled ride
Published 12:00 am, Saturday, July 15, 2017
British writer/director Edgar Wright puts the pedal to the metal for this propulsive, music-driven crime caper.
The titular Baby (Ansel Elgort) is paying off a debt to crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey) by working as his rubber-burning getaway driver. Doc is the ruthless, short-tempered mastermind behind a series of robberies in Atlanta.
Baby’s backstory involves a tragic automobile accident in which his parents were killed, leaving him with chronic tinnitus, a “hum in the drum,” as Doc calls it, meaning Baby functions best when rock music is blaring from one of his many iPods directly into his earbuds.
When he’s not involved in high-speed car chases, Baby hangs out at the diner where his mother once worked. That’s where he falls for a dreamy waitress named Debora (Lily James), who just wants “to head west … in a car we can’t afford, with a plan we don’t have,” listening to T. Rex’s “Debora” and Carla Thomas’ “B-A-B-Y.”
Their first date is at the local laundromat, where clothes spin around in time with the music.
Propelling this inventive thriller, Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” “The World’s End”) synchronizes the symphony of automotive action to the energetic rhythm of what’s playing on Baby’s mixtape, named after a Simon & Garfunkel track on their “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album.
Familiar from “Divergent” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” expressive 23-year-old Elgort personifies the laconic wheelman, tenderly caring for elderly Pops (C.J. Jones), his wheelchair-confined, hearing-impaired foster father.
Spacey is at his wickedly sly best, and Hamm simply chews the scenery with glee. Of course, the soundtrack’s a killer.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Baby Driver” revs up with an adrenaline-propelled 8. It’s a gas.