Just Been Watching… (107)

Baby Driver (2017)

***(No spoilers***

This was a film I wanted to buy on DVD, following many rave reviews.
Then it turned up on Netflix, so I watched it.

I had never heard of the star, Ansel Elgort. He plays ‘Baby’, the driver of the title. He lives with his elderly foster-father, and for some reason owes money to a gangster, Doc. (Kevin Spacey) Baby loves music, and always has one of his many i-pods plugged into his ears. He is also a talented car thief and getaway driver. Doc sets up the robberies, using different gang members every time. But he always uses the same driver, and keeps his share of the loot to pay off the debt. When the debt is finally repaid, Doc tells him he has to carry on working for him, or something bad might happen to his foster parent.

That’s about it. But of course, there’s more.

The film kicks off with a robbery. One of the gang members is Buddy, played by John Hamm. He brings along his girlfriend, Darling, played by the very attractive Eliza Gonzalez. After the heist, Baby shows off his driving skills to the max, accompanied by the soundtrack in his ears, which we of course hear. Baby is very cool, and although Elgort looks very young to be such an experienced gangster, he carries off the role perfectly.

More exciting robberies and car chases follow, with other gang members including Bats, (Jamie Foxx) and Griff. (Jon Bernthal) Meanwhile, Baby has met an attractive young waitress, Debora. (Lily James) He starts to think about getting away with his new love, and making plans for the care of his elderly foster father too. But we all know crime is not supposed to pay, and nothing turns out the way Baby expected it to.

OK, we have seen this sort of thing many times before. Ryan O’Neal in ‘The Driver’, and more recently Ryan Gosling, in ‘Drive’. I will say straight off that this film is not up to the same standard. It is neither ‘serious’, nor ‘thoughtful’. It has nothing to say, and no point to prove. In many respects, it feels like a homage to similar films, with a touch of Tarantino about it. But it has two things going for it.

Elgort is just great as Baby. And the music is wonderful.

So can a film survive on one compelling central performance, and a lot of varied music on the soundtrack? Throw in an A-list supporting cast, yet still be one man’s film?

Oh yes, it can.

37 thoughts on “Just Been Watching… (107)

  1. Great review πŸ™‚ Another hallmark I love of director/writer Edgar Wright is his use of editing – there is something so tongue-in-cheek in how in certain sequences you can hear the sound of each cut like VOOM VOOM πŸ™‚ Anyway, keep up the. great work as always πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean, Pam. But I do think that you would enjoy the music in this film. The way that everything happens to a ‘soundtrack’ is actually rather joyous.
      And ‘The Kid is cool!’. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also loved this film. I didn’t expect anything to be honest, but like you when I saw this one was on Netflix I gave it a go. Am glad I did. It was just a very fun film, with a great performance, and a wonderful story. The music pretty much completed it all 😊
    P.S: agree with you on remaking the Westside Story…why oh why? Some movies just should never be remade 😒

    Liked by 1 person

          1. I fell right into that trap didn’t I? πŸ˜…πŸ˜…
            Okay erm, let’s see: The Thing, 3: 10 To Yuma, Heat, Casino Royale, Insomnia, The Blob, Cape Fear, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Planet of the Apes, The War of the Worlds, Total Recall…well…these are the ones that spring to mind at the moment…..πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Some good choices! I will give you these.
              The Thing, (Hugely better than the original) Invasion of The Body Snatchers, (though I still prefer the original) Cape Fear, which was almost better…
              Heat is no way better than the original, (have you seen LA Takedown? Raw, and ‘stripped down’) neither is Planet of The Apes, or War of The Worlds. I don’t care about any Bond film, and The Blob is so-so.
              We will have to differ on those other selections, old friend. πŸ™‚
              Best wishes, Pete.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Lol…..Well, there is one thing you will not get me to back down to: And that is Heat πŸ˜…It’s my third alltime favorite film, and I pretty much see it at least once is a year πŸ˜…πŸ˜… So, lol sorry
                As for the others….well, Planet of the Apes…which version of the remakes? (because there have been two…one is lousy, the other is very good 😊). War of the worlds I guess is good, but not as good as the original (but well, stil not bad).
                Lol…and I’m not a huge Bond fan myself, but because Casino Royale didn’t feel like a Bond film I guess that is why I liked it πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
                As for the others? Agreed😊😊
                And that’s the fun things about movies : everyone experiences them differently, which is why I love these kinds of discussions 😊😊

                Liked by 1 person

                1. That’s all good of course, Michel. But you still didn’t tell me if you have seen LA Takedown. πŸ™‚
                  Planet of the Apes? Only the original for me. Fresh and different at the time.
                  Best wishes, Pete.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. WhoopsπŸ˜…πŸ˜… Sorry Pete! Erm, no I didn’t see the original. I have a limited edition dvd of heat and there were some scenes of the orginal on it, but unfortunately I have never seen the whole thing😊
                    The original is terrific and defenitely a classic, no argument from me there 😊 I just thought the new trilogy was amazing as well😊

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I was only teasing. πŸ™‚ Almost nobody has seen LA Takedown! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
                      ‘Heat’ is a great film, no question. It’s just that I had seen the earlier one, and at the time I was annoyed by the near-identical remake. (Albeit with a much bigger budget.) And Alex McArthur was a convincing villain, even if he isn’t in De Niro’s league.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Haha…well, who knows maybe I will see that original at some point 😊😊 The scenes I saw on the dvd extras definitely looked very good 😊 I will probably have a review of Heat coming up in August as it’s a movie I wanted to write about for quite some time 😊

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was curious to read your view on this, but i wholeheartedly agree with what you have written! I enjoyed it for what it was, it was a fun take on a genre that can be a bit cliched. I liked that every part of the movie had a beat, or rhythm running through it, everything he did, or even just each scene in general, was like an individual track. It was well put together πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice review! I agree with you, the movie doesn’t say anything new, but it does everything with style! The soundtrack, the direction, the editing… And as you said, Baby is great (I also enjoyed Lily!).

    I wrote about the movie in my blog, if you want to have a look at it!

    Liked by 1 person

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