(director/writer: Edgar Wright; cinematographer: Bill Pope; editors: Paul Machliss, Jonathan Amos; music: Steven Price; cast: Ansel Elgort (Baby), Kevin Spacey (Doc), Lily James ( Debora), Jon Bernthal (Griff) Jon Hamm (Buddy), Jamie Foxx (Bats), Eiza Gonzalez (Darling) Flea (Eddie), Paul Williams (The Butcher), Sky Ferreira (Baby’s Mom), Lance Palmer (Baby’s Dad), Lanny Joon.(JD), CJ Jones (Joseph); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Nira Park, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner; Sony TriStar; 2017)
“As far as car chases go, Bullitt has no edge on this stylish fecal thriller.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
As far as car chases go, Bullitt has no edge on this stylish fecal thriller. Brit director/writer Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”/”Hot Fuzz”) lets it go on a high speed ride with non-stop action as a bank heist movie that uses music, fast cars and then love to drown out the shrill sounds of the world.
It opens in downtown Atlanta, as the young wheelman Baby (Ansel Elgort) listens in his parked stolen red Suburu on his iPod to pop music such as Stone Roses, Queen, T. Rex and Martha and the Vandellas with his earbuds on and him mouthing the words, while his three wild-eyed colleagues pull off a daring armed bank heist. What follows is a wild car chase through the city streets and on a highway with the police in hot pursuit, as the wheelman uses his extraordinary driving skills to get everybody in one piece to the hideout of the ringleader crime boss, Doc (Kevin Spacey), to split the loot. Some time ago Baby was a kid car thief who one day stole Doc’s Mercedes with drugs inside, not knowing he was a twisted ruthless mob boss. When Doc learned he was an amazing driver, he made him pay off his debt by being a wheelman for his robbery gangs while showing some sympathy to him because he was made an orphan as a child when his parents were killed in a car accident and he suffered ever since from tinnitus. Since his hearing is impaired, the laconic Baby uses music to drown out the ringing in his ears. The non-violent Baby stores whatever money he gets from the jobs under a floor-board in the shabby apartment he shares with his black, deaf, wheelchair-bound, foster parent (CJ Jones), who gently raised him. The kid is relieved when the boss tells him he must do only one more job to pay off his debt since he’s not really a criminal. While musing about his future plans at the same diner his aspiring singer beloved mother (Sky Ferreira) worked as a waitress, he falls for the waitress Debora (Lily James) because she reminds him of mom. He makes a crazy plan for them to flee the area and just keep riding west together.But the boss’s next heist of the Post Office turns into a doomed operation. As the three new bank robbers (the boss uses different crews for each job, the only constant is his lucky charm Baby) like all the other recruits they are unhinged and dangerous. This trio includes the always angry loose-cannon Bats (Jamie Foxx) and the ruthless sociopath lovebirds Buddy (John Hamm) and Darling (Eiza Gonzalez).
It’s a movie filled with astonishing car chases, violent shootouts and nasty retorts among the criminals. It only goes over the guard rails in the final act, when it ties up its loose ends in such a neat way that whatever charm it earned gets some of the air sucked out of it. Nevertheless it’s wonderful as a summer treat, even if its B film story roots show more than ever by the end.
REVIEWED ON 6/28/2017 GRADE: B