The Midnight Ramble returns with another double bill review. And spoilers, these movies are both great.
This is the best studio comedy of the year.
While Haddish is the standout, no one is short-changed. This is one of those rare ensemble comedies where all the characters have their own stories.
|Hey New Zealand distributors, sort this out|
Marking a neat break from the superheroes, Edgar Wright returns with his own spin on the seventies car chase thriller.
Baby is the best getaway driver in the business. And he can't wait to get out of it so he can spend the rest of his life with his love, Debora (Lily James). But when his boss (Kevin Spacey) insists he keep working, Baby realises he will have to switch gears to avoid losing everything he has fought for.
Wright's love letter to the Western-style minimalism of Walter Hill (The Driver), Baby Driver is less visually hyperactive than his previous work. Aside from Martin Scorsese and Russ Meyer, no filmmaker can match Wright's talents for approximating the beat and rhythm of rock'n'roll cinematically. The action is well-choreographed, shot and edited. Most people will probably focus on the car chases, but the sequence that really impressed me was the foot chase in the third act. The soundtrack is terrific, and while the movie is almost wall-to-wall sound, it never gets tired.
But while it has many good qualities, there is something holding me back from saying I loved Baby Driver. I enjoyed it, but I never felt entirely won over by it. While I enjoyed the style and the music, there were a few points where I felt outside, where Wright's choices worked against the movie.
My one issue derives from the protracted denouement, chronicling Baby's stay in jail while he waits to be reunited with Debora. Wright seems to be striving for a romanticism that the movie has not earned. Maybe it's just me, but I felt the love story worked as a component of the crime plot, but it never overshadowed it in the way Wright thinks it does. I never really felt the protagonists falling in love to the degree that would justify the extended coda.
It might also have to do with the fact that I felt the main players did not have the kind of dynamite chemistry to make me invest in their relationship. Lily James is very winsome as Debora, but there is something that does not click about her co-star. Ansel Elgort is good in the lead role, but he does not have the kind of presence or charisma to make the character's silence read.
My issues aside, Baby Driver is a good time at the movies. It's a thrill ride in the old school sense of the term, and is a good option if you are (like everybody) a little tired of the same CG-style blockbusters which occupy the mid-year.