Baby Driver, a highly-praised feature film (released June 28), starring newcomer Ansel Elgort as Baby, tells the story of a millennial car driver getting in and out of trouble while trying to capture the love of his life. Baby drives fast and furiously, shifting gears and tapping tunes he hears on his iPod (yes, an iPod) while waiting for the criminal types he chauffeurs around to complete their heists–robbing banks and the post office.
Baby’s boss, Doc, (the incomparable Kevin Spacey in a role not worthy of his talent) is owed a debt from Baby, providing the motivation for the young getaway driver’s awful choices in job options and companions. One of the criminals, Buddy, (played by Jon Hamm –again, a waste of this actor’s abilities), seems to empathize with Baby, instead of humiliating him. A psychopathological maniac, Bats (Jamie Foxx, what were you thinking?), provides much of the gratuitous gore. A kindly foster father (played by C J Jones) offers one of the only heartbeats indicating humanity.
Baby Driver is first and foremost, about sensational car chases and these are some of the most visually arresting, heart-pounding, choreographed scenes this viewer has ever seen. The cars rev up to mostly 70’s music with preposterous outcomes and perfect timing for comic effect. Furthermore, Baby has tinnitus, which he drowns out with his iPod, providing killer timing and the graceful rhythms his body dances to while walking, weaving in and out of the crowd as if driving on the streets of Atlanta.
A car-centric crime drama, with the actors timing their movements to the soundtrack, Baby Driver features constant, often glamorized, violence. There are several mass shootings, with machine-gun deaths beating to the music. You’ll also see several car accidents with splintering glass and bloodied bodies, sudden deaths, and lots of gore. Many of the characters die sudden, terrible deaths. Female characters are stereotypes, ogled by both the characters and the camera.
While Baby Driver will receive accolades and become a box office hit (released June 28), its target demographic–millennial guys–may be sufficient to gather some award nominations. The main actor, Ansel Elgort, holds the viewer’s attention, a babyfaced Patrick Swayze, who will almost certainly have more challenging roles offered in the future. Similar to “Drive”, “Baby Driver” has less story and convincing dialog. I would not recommend this one to non-millennial viewers. We are the wrong demographic.
1 star for everyone but millennials; 4 stars for millennial males.