Wednesday, 12 July 2017

BABY DRIVER - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Lead Character Needs to be Punched in the Face.

Baby needs to be punched in the face - and often.

Baby Driver (2017)
Dir. Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jamie Foxx,
Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, Paul Williams, Sky Ferreira

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is an ace getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey), an Atlanta crime kingpin who never uses the same crew for the bank heists he masterminds, but happily breaks from protocol by using Baby each and every time. The kid is the best. He also owes Doc a whack of "tribute" dough and is paying down the debt. The kid suffers from the tinnitus he acquired in a car accident that spared him, but munched his Mommy and Daddy. He's perpetually plugged into classic R&B to drown out "the hum in his drum" and provide the necessary inspiration to put the pedal to the metal. When Baby isn't driving, he pretty much comports himself the same way. With tunes blasting through earphones, Baby bobs his head with the same metronomic rhythm that a cow chews its cud.

Baby might be the most annoyingly insufferable big-screen figure since Jar-Jar Binks (or, perhaps, Patch Adams or Sam Witwicky) and there isn't a moment this cutesy bonehead doesn't inspire me to want to punch him in the face - repeatedly, I might add. Almost as sickening is Baby's love interest Debora (Lily James), a vapid, toothy waitress who's clearly as empty as he is since she falls in love with him at first sight. Yes, she too needs to be punched in the face.

Look, I love Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead as much as the next fella, but his output ever since has adhered to the law of diminishing returns and Baby Driver is the nadir. Jam-packed with by-rote crime movie cliches in the guise of "homage", the picture seems machine-tooled to appeal to audiences as bovinely-brained as its lead character.

None of the endless car chases have any narrative urgency, nor are they ever rooted in anything resembling genuine desperation. I could almost accept this if Wright handled the heists and chases with some kind of genuine panache, but they're all a compendium of the usual contemporary ADHD editing with cameras all over the place and cuts driven by sound rather than picture. It's deathly dull. The stunt work is fine, but it seems to be captured by sight-bereft filmmakers.

A few nights after seeing this piece of shit I re-watched William Friedkin's To Live and Die in L.A. and had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck during some of the most hair-raising, dramatically urgent car chase footage ever committed to film. No such hairs stood up for me during Baby Driver. In fact, I was often so bored that my mind wandered to the notion of shaving my flaccid pubic hairs to give me something to do whilst watching the tedious proceedings.

Even more egregious is that the whole thing is so moronically sun-dappled that Wright can't even muster up enough balls to generate the kind of gloriously downer ending a great crime picture demands. Baby is involved in several high-profile robberies and is an accessory to a whack of murders, but so many of the film's supporting characters attest to his goodness as a human being that he barely serves any prison time and by the end of the picture hops into some hot wheels with his moron girlfriend to trip the highways fantastic.

Leaving the cinema as Baby Driver ended, I not only wanted to punch Baby in the face, I just wanted to punch everyone happily leaving the cinema. The stupid grins plastered upon their satisfied visages all seemed worthy of rearrangement via my fists.


Baby Driver is in wide release via Tri-Star and Sony Pictures.