Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. United Kingdom/USA, 2017. TriStar Pictures, Media Rights Capital, Double Negative, Big Talk Productions, Working Title Films. Screenplay by Edgar Wright. Cinematography by Bill Pope. Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Nira Park. Music by Steven Price. Production Design by Marcus Rowland. Costume Design by Courtney Hoffman. Film Editing by Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss. Academy Awards 2017. Golden Globe Awards 2017.
Ansel Elgort’s “Baby” wears headphones in his ears at all times to help him deal with the tinnitus he acquired in a childhood car accident, his perpetually setting his life to his own personal soundtrack not at all a detriment to his abilities as a getaway driver. Kevin Spacey plays a high-level crime boss who assigns Baby to gangs of thieves who need a quick escape after a heist, their business relationship the result of a youthful prank that lost Spacey a lot of money and put Elgort in his debt. After two successful robberies put the two men back on the square and erase Spacey’s hold on the young man, he looks forward to going back to the straight life and perhaps even pursuing a romance with the pretty waitress (Lily James) with the sweet singing voice, but his shady former boss has other plans. Spacey lets him know that he still needs Baby’s services and will not be taking no for an answer, at least not without breaking a few limbs, so our hero is quickly back in the driver’s seat. This time, however, planning and execution aren’t as simple as usual thanks to a loose cannon (Jamie Foxx) on the team with an itchy trigger finger. Neon lights and tunes from all decades abound in this frenetic time-waster that has little inspiration but plenty of motion to keep you in it ’til the end. It’s a remarkably unimportant movie given the amount of energy it expends, there are plenty of car chases and lots of shoot-outs, but for all the singing that accompanies the mayhem, not to mention the choreography of machines and bodies that are edited skillfully in time with the musical beats, there is very little glee to the whole thing. Elgort barely makes an impression in the lead, and James is given far too little to do in the main plot, but Foxx has a good time going overboard and there’s some life behind Jon Hamm‘s usually dead eyes as a fellow hood with his own scores to settle.