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Across the Finish Line – Baby Driver Review

Elena Horton, Editor in Chief

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When the word crime drama is said, the average person usually thinks of dramas such as The Godfather, Scar Face, and many more. However, June 2017, director Edgar Wright released a movie titled “Baby Driver,” which shortly became a massive hit of the summer.

The movie follows the story of Miles A.K.A “Baby” (played by Ansel Elgort), a young man who works as a getaway driver for a crime boss named “Doc” (played by Kevin Spacey) and his gangs of bank robbers. While doing his runs, he manages to fall in love with a young waitress (played by Lily James) and spends the rest of the movie trying to escape the world of crime.

Miles a.k.a “Baby”

 

An Eye for an Eye

Throughout the movie, many spectacular action scenes can be seen. This serves as a fresh visual, as many modern day action movies attempt to get a bit too creative with their camera shots and tend to cause the play of the action to be a bit confusing. In “Baby Driver,” the scenes are cleverly shot.

Baby during an action scene

Speaking of the scenes, from beginning to end, the movie relies on clever visuals littered throughout the film.  In the beginning, as the song Baby’s listening to is playing, you can see he passes my multiple graffiti spots. These aren’t a coincidence since each artwork is a graphic to go with a certain point of the song. At the end of the film, there’s a battle between Baby and Buddy (played by Jon Hamm). Buddy is chasing Baby in a car, eventually with the two standing off as if in a joust. This is a clever visual Allusion to “Romeo and Juliet,” and is confirmed when Buddy even refers to baby as “Romeo.” There’s also a large amount of color contrast and lighting played with which set the mood.

There were, however, flaws of course. Not necessarily with the quality of the scenes, but with specific scenes. It’s advised to be careful when viewing this movie, as there are a few death scenes. More specifically, Bats’s (played by Jamie Foxx). Bats is arguing with Baby in the car since Baby is hesitant to drive. After Bats gun-butts Baby, Baby drives into the construction truck in front of them, the beam hanging off the truck impaling Bats directly in the neck. This can serve as a shock to audiences. While it may be clever, It’s very risque and narrows the demographic a bit for the movie. In general though, visually speaking, audiences will not be disappointed with the scenery or even the acting.

A Bad Liar

The performances in this movie range from convincingly perfect to “over the top to the point it becomes cringey.” For instance, Ansel Elgort’s performance creates this fine line.

Ansel Elgort as “Baby”

A key defining trait in Baby is he tends to reference movie and TV lines. This makes up a significant portion of his dialogue and even gets him in trouble near the end when he’s caught reciting Monster Inc. quotes to convince Doc of their friendship. There are even certain one liners he delivers that come off rather forced and cringe-worthy at times. However, Ansel makes up for this in his visual performance. A huge aspect of the movie is that Baby tends to move with whatever track happens to be playing at the time. Ansel’s every movement on screen lines up in sync with each song for the most part. Even then, the amount of emotion he puts into his character’s facial expressions allows the viewer to experience the character’s deeper side- the part in which most others aside from characters like Doc can’t see. He’s extremely emotional and reactive if one pays attention long enough to his more subtle movements.

Then, there’s Jamie Foxx.

Jamie Foxx as “Bats”

Jamie Foxx’s performance as Bats is hard to take seriously at first. He does play a villain type role well, but the lines he delivers tend to come off as ‘exceedingly edgy and over the top.’ For instance, in the scene where Bats is first on screen, he harasses Baby for listening to music. Buddy defends him, saying that it’s just ‘how he works.’ Bats replies with, ‘the demons in my head are playing enough music.’ It comes off as a bit cringe-worthy as well, however eventually as the movie proceeds, Jamie manages to show Bats’s true psychotic nature, as in the warehouse scene where he, without hesitation, shoots “The Butcher” (played by Paul Williams) who was supposed to be supplying them with ammunition for their next heist. His reaction comes off as extremely unnerving and up-plays Bats successfully as a character the audience is suppose to love to hate.

 

Lights, Camera, Action!

“Baby Driver” managed to drive into the box office with a film budget of about $34,000,000 and earn $20, 553, 320 opening weekend. The summer had greater action beasts Baby had to go against, though. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 earned $145 million, Spiderman: Homecoming at $117 million, and Dunkirk with $50.5 million.

On Deaf Ears

A key aspect to the film that’s played with frequently that sets it apart from the rest of the movies which premiered during the summer would have to be how it uses deafness. Baby has tinnitus, a sensory disorder in which the victim hears a constant ringing in their ears. Baby counteracts this through his constant usage of music. Baby isn’t the only character who has showcased some disability. His foster father, Joseph (played by CJ Jones) is confined to a wheelchair and deaf. There has been an issue as to how movies tend to portray the disabled.

The way Baby Driver handles it is realistic, simply put. Baby’s disorder, while it hinders him, he managed to create an advantage to himself which becomes his major tool through the film. Even then, while both characters do tend to be the subject of ridicule during the movie with derogatory terms (which, to be fair, is realistic considering the insults mainly came from the gang members), the disorders don’t really hold the characters back. It’s more so, they’re characters that happen to be deaf, rather than just ‘characters who are deaf.’ It gives the audience a somewhat realistic portrayal of living with the illnesses and even opens up a new concept since a large amount of the character interactions surround Baby and his constant listening to music.

And the winner is…

Baby Driver, all in all, is a riveting piece of action that’s fun to watch. It has a deep, gripping narrative. The movie even plays with themes such as loss and moralities. The characters are deep and easy to get invested into, or at least the ones that are meant to be invested in. This movie isn’t for all audiences due to some of the shock value thrown in and how heavy a large amount of the subject matter is. Once that’s looked past, it’s easy to enjoy the film.

Deborah and Baby interacting

TL;DR: 9/10 film. Riveting, gripping and fresh, this is a perfect movie for those who want to watch with some friends.

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About the Writer
Elena Horton, Reporter

Elena Horton is an RNE senior and Editor in Chief of the Saber. She's involved with pride club and mock trial. Her favorite things to do are play video...

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