Common Sense Drops the Ball on Baby Driver
I think as both a stylist and a storyteller, Edgar Wright wasn't given quite his due with the review given to his latest creation, Baby Driver, on this site. Both in quality and content, I mean.
If you don't already know the name Edgar Wright as a film fan, get ready to. His signature directing/editing style, along with the snappy writing he has come to be renowned for since his cult classic "Shaun of the Dead" in 2004 (albeit less comedy focused this time around) is all here in spades. The focus is on the music this time around, (main character Baby has tinnitus, and drowns it out with what comprises of the film's soundtrack), and although music and sound have always played major roles in Wright's films (David, kill the Queen! The jukebox!), it has never felt so fully integral to the story and action as it does ever-so-brilliantly here. Like the non-stop pace of 2015's Mad Max Fury Road put into an expertly choreographed music video that never ends. The energy is palpable, the set pieces and stunt work are superb, and the tracks loud and clear flawlessly interwoven into it all. It's a rocking jukebox musical with cars and a playful eye behind the camera. Entertaining, slick, and beautifully crafted doesn't begin to do it justice.
As for content, the film definitely carries an R for a reason. However, the movie's most interesting moments comes in how it approaches violence. Unlike what the site has written, Baby Driver rarely, if ever stoops so low as to glorify violence inflicted on innocents. The camera remains subjective, and Baby as a kind soul being pressured to drive for criminals, deliberately averts his eyes from the acts of violence he seems to feel some responsibility for, and even tries to interfere at any moment he can. As such, when the time does come for the inevitable explosion, the violence perpetrated feels suitably harsh and confrontational, never used as a release or source of pleasure (besides, there are plenty of inventive chases for that). Baby tries is absolute hardest to protect the innocent people he loves and understands the consequences of his life choices and how they will effect others. He even faces legitimate consequences for his actions by the end of the film.
What parents should know is that this is a film with considerable amounts of language (think Wright's other films, about 40-50 f-bombs used with characters and moments where they generally feel appropriate given the context and stakes), and a couple moments of extreme but brief violence. The overall messages never once condone or glorify any of it, characters who concern themselves with criminal actions and violence against innocents all wind up paying for it in some form or another. Actions are not without consequence in Baby Driver. In the end, it's all up to how well you know your children. 15-16 is more than appropriate in my eyes, given how reckless and extreme PG-13 films have already gotten in their approach to onscreen violence. 13-14 is iffy. If you know they can handle the language, and think they will appreciate the filmmaking enough to merit exposure to some of the more graphic stuff, I'd absolutely look into letting them see what is easily one of the coolest and inventive thrill-rides of the decade and an easy pick for Best Film of 2017 so far.
P.S., Also clarifying the sex issue. There is some passionate kissing and sex talk, but nothing outright offensive. And that bit about the camera lingering on women's legs and bodies or whatever? It's one shot that stays focused on the hips of a woman for a few seconds, a POV shot in fact, from Jamie Foxx's character who is written as an impulsive and immoral person (aka, not someone to be emulated). Both female characters are hardly submissive either. One is an integral part of the plot's main heist. Meanwhile Debora, Baby's love interest, is focused on mostly for the relationship (think Spider-Man's Mary Jane and Peter plotline). However she herself comes into her own and significantly contributes to the film's most climactic moments. Hardly objectified or treated as worthless. Sex is not an issue at all, Common Sense far overstepped in this category.
This title contains:
Violence & scariness