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‘Baby Driver’ (review)

Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Nira Park
Written and Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey,
Lily James, Jon Bernthal,
Eiza González, Jon Hamm,
Jamie Foxx, Flea, Paul Williams

Has mainstream cinema become so awful that just mediocre films are lauded with universal praise?

Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is a familiar mash-up of dozens of films that’s mildly entertaining, but not original or electric enough to carve it’s own identity.

It might seem harsh, but Wright, who launched his career with the brilliant Shaun of The Dead has slowly become less impressive with each film and ultimately, Baby Driver, which at least is a step up from 2013’s The World’s End, is a disappointing addition to the once exciting moviemaker’s filmography.

Ansel Egort delivers a wooden and ultimately charmless performance as the title character, Baby, a getaway driver indebted to mob boss, Doc (Kevin Spacey), who needs to complete one last job before he’s out.  Suffering from tinnitus from a childhood accident that killed his parents, Baby spends his life listening to music through his various iPods, blocking out the ringing.  The music he’s listening to becomes the soundtrack to the film.

Two of the film’s bigger co-stars, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm both seem to be trying to be interesting character actors when in reality, they’re just leading men with odd haircuts and fake tattoos.  Other cast members including Lily James as Baby’s love interest, Deborah, Jon Bernthal as criminal, Griff, and Paul Williams as crime boss, The Butcher, all deliver the best that they can with the material.

Martin Scorsese once responded to the notion that his only interest was cinema, that if that were true, “all of his movies would be about movies.”  Wright, like Quentin Tarantino and other modern directors seem to follow that path, reimagining the films, the shots, and the sequences they love into their own work.

As a result, Baby Driver is nothing more than cinematic junk food, a quick fix that’s neither satisfying or fulfilling and ultimately, forgettable.

 

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