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Rhythm is what ties everything in this movie together. Rhythm defines Edgar Wright’s style.

Edgar Wright had a disappointing couple of years, I think. Getting over all that work he put into Ant-Man must have been rough but I’m so glad it meant that this movie, which Wright first developed in the 90’s, got to exist. As pointed out elsewhere, Wright might have a little Marvel still stuck in his teeth but ultimately I think everybody is going to agree that he hasn’t lost a step. Baby Driver is full of the inventive filmmaking and action he’s known for while also being vastly different from his other movies.

What most people are saying about Baby Driver is how fun and entertaining it is. I’ll echo that while also adding that it’s a surprisingly dark and consequence-laden movie. Wright has always been deft with tonal shifts and messing with genre conventions and while Baby Driver does balance a light-hearted romantic tone with some heavier elements, it’s actually kind of refreshingly straightforward when it comes to its genre. Wright has made his version of a Michael Mann film in a film where every character thinks they are in their own movie. Wright’s genius here is that he’s making all those movies by referencing, recycling, nodding, and reinventing parts of them.

I think Baby Driver is destined to be a crowd-pleaser. There’s too much to like about it and it’s kind of universally appealing, I think. Part of that is the really joyous way it uses music, and part of it is just that everybody loves a crime movie. If there are any complaints to be made, they’ll probably arise from the nuts and bolts mechanics of the story and its somewhat misleading structure. The last act will not fully work for everyone, but I think it’s not going to really damage anyone’s enjoyment of the movie overall. I’ll talk about these issues later, but I really think they are likely to end up being footnotes on a masterpiece.


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Sort of mismarketed as the “two guys wear luchadore masks go on a Mexican rampage over a girl” movie. Sort of.

Savages often feels like it’s trying really hard to be a Tony Scott movie. True Romance mixed with Man on Fire with a little Dominothrown in for grins. It’s as mixed a bag as that sounds and there are several places where whatever Stone is going for just falls flat. However, the movie is expertly cast and has a sense of fun. The philosophical back and forth is a bit simplistic and doesn’t come to a satisfying conclusion (more on this later) but all in all I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the movie. Most of this is owed to the performances, Stone being a master visualist, and an against-type approach to the conflicts and gonzo characterizations in the film.

The one thing this isn’t, though, is a movie where two guys go on a big action spree against a cartel. There are two action scenes and one is a cheat. I think this could have been a great no-frills action movie but it would have been less interesting, if potentially more satisfying. The one thing you can say about Savages is that it is often interesting in spite of itself. Again, this is because of the characters for which there is a lot of affection in the script, all of which translates to screen even with the creepiest and most villainous ones. Read the rest of this entry »


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