First Hit: Thoroughly enjoyable and fun to watch.
The music mood of the film begins right away. The music is critically important to Baby (Ansel Elgort) because he spends most of his time with his white earbuds in his ears to listen to music that the audience hears during critical moments and sometimes as background in other scenes.
Baby uses the music piped into his brain to drown out the constant noise due to tinnitus. It could be that one of the reasons I related well to this film. Because of the explosive noises I was subjected to in Vietnam and from the extra loud rock concerts I attended, I have a severe case of tinnitus which means I have a constant loud noise in my head all the time.
I find that when I write, especially the two books I’m currently writing, I do it with music headphones on or I use the background noise of a café because it helps me concentrate. That’s why Baby listens to music especially when he drives the getaway vehicles for robberies set up by Doc (Kevin Spacey).
Doc obtains information about banks, armored cars, or even the post office he thinks would make great targets for cash. Doc then gathers a crew of people to do the job and each crew is a cast of different characters for each job he does except Baby.
Doc caught Baby stealing his car once and the trunk contained bags of drugs. Although Baby didn’t know about the drugs, when he fenced the car the drugs were lost. Doc makes Baby drive for the robberies because he’s the best driver there is and Baby’s share of the jobs goes to Doc as repayment for the lost drugs.
The robbery teams include; Buddy (Jon Hamm) Griff, (Jon Bernthal), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), and Bats (Jamie Foxx). Darling and Buddy are a couple and work together but their first time working with Bats is quite an experience.
When Baby meets a waitress, at a diner he frequents, he is immediately taken with her because she sings while she walks by. Debora (Lily James), is drifting like he is. Her singing reminds him of his mom who sang and also worked at the same diner before she died in a car accident when he was a little boy. He was in the car when his parents died and it was this event that gave him the tinnitus.
When she says to him, she just wants to get in a car and drive west to a new life, he completely falls for her. Baby decides that he’s going to do one last job for Doc, pay off his debt, and ask Debora to go west with him.
This is a great set up for the film because Bats is crazy as hell, Buddy and Darling are fully capable of mayhem, Doc is arrogantly mysterious and Baby is, well, incredibly focused and talks very little.
The only things that I didn’t like in the film was the opening scene which seemed to choreographed and a couple of the scenes when Baby is walking to and from a coffee house to bring the robbery teams coffee. They were a bit to staged as well. Else I loved the driving scenes, the music and the premise as it was unique.
Elgort was fantastic. His inner character is exemplified during the scenes where he's with his foster parent Joseph (CJ Jones). Now that Jones cannot care for himself alone, it is Baby who takes care of him. His boyish soft looks belied the intense driven young man inside. He was perfect for the part. Hamm was great as the intense man, feeding habits including his girlfriend, Darling. Gonzalez was wonderful as the intense woman who was loved by Buddy. Together they had matching intense, impulsive and wild natures. Foxx was off the charts crazy. He clearly made this role his own. Spacey was perfect as the guy with the mean sarcastic whit. He’s got a wonderful ability to make his character drip in a smarmy liquid way. Jones was strong as the deaf man who loved Baby and wanted only the best for him. James was beyond amazing. Her sweet strong personality was perfect for the part. She exuded this role completely. Edger Wright wrote and directed this unique film with deftness. I loved the choreographed driving scenes and my only criticism I’ve already shared. This is one of the best actions films of the year.
Overall: This movie was a joy ride.