Directed by: Edgar Wright – Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal
Given that his previous directorial efforts include The Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim vs the World, when you see Edgar Wright’s name attached to a flick, you know it’s not going to be a straightforward narrative. Here he gives us a ‘jukebox heist movie’, with some of the most slickly-choreographed fight and shoot-out scenes you will ever see.
Elgort plays Baby, a young and talented getaway driver. After an accident as a child, he suffers tinnitus, so he relies on music to drown out the ‘hum in the drum’. Indeed, when we first meet him, he is on a job using his ‘soundtrack’ to keep him focused.
In debt to a mysterious criminal (Spacey) he knows that he is almost paid up, and will soon get his life back, so when he meets Debora (James) he quickly falls for her, and starts making plans for his non-criminal future. But escaping the past isn’t that simple, and when he’s sucked back in for one last job, it could be the death of all involved.
As I said, the choreography here is super-slick, and there is a particularly impressive shoot-out that plays out to the famous song, Tequila. Also the soundtrack is amazing. The effect of this though is that it detracts somewhat from what could have been a really gritty story. Also, it is as if they picked the music over character development, with many of the key players being clichéd stereotypes.
Elgort does a good job as Baby, but there is very little chemistry between him and James. Also their romance is portrayed in such a roundabout fashion, that you start to wonder why she would be willing to risk everything for him. Their story isn’t allowed to breathe.
However, he and Spacey bounce off each other well, and their relationship is a huge part of the story. Unfortunately, Hamm and Foxx are playing completely one-dimensional characters that you don’t really care about at all. This is a shame, because both are great actors and merit more than this.
This is an interesting movie, but the chirpy music and bouncy choreography belies the dark subject matter, and sometimes becomes confusing. Sadly, Wright seems to have sacrificed substance for style. That’s not to say it’s not entertaining. You’ll be tapping your feet along to the soundtrack, and oohing and ahhing at the movement. But ultimately, it feels somewhat dissatisfying.
A nice curio, but it could have been so much more.
In Cinemas June 28th! Trailer below: