Cast: Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González
Writer and Director: Edgar Wright
Death comes suddenly, savagely for a character in Edgar Wright’s edgy, zany thriller much in the same manner it did to a bus commuter at Worli on March 12, 1993, in a harrowing scene captured for posterity by brilliant lensman Mukesh Parpiani, who now runs the Piramal Gallery, NCPA. Unlike that hapless commuter, the celluloid character is a criminal and it’s tempting to say he deserved it but one will try to not be judgmental.
For karma, unforgiving karma seems to be at play in this crime caper whose plot succumbs to fantasy to underline the importance of empathy, the moral compass and most of all, the simple truth that little acts of kindness go a long, long way. Partly inspired by a music video, Edgar Wright directed for the band Mint Royale, the film is replete with the violence (and action) that befits this dexterously shot and expertly edited crime caper.
Young Ansel Elgort dazzles as a getaway driver who is attached (like Linus to his blanket in the Peanuts; comic strip) to a personal soundtrack which includes his dead mother’s version of Lionel Richie’s “Easy (like Sunday Morning)”. He’s not a chubby-wubby babyface although he answers to the name and his life takes an upswing when he meets chirpy waitress Debora (Lily James, effervescent) who has the same dreams as he does: To hit the road (like the couple in that hit song by Lobo, only it’s not on the soundtrack. Nor is “Baby Face” or any other number of “baby” songs I can think of.)
Ansel’s Baby babysits a benign, black, wheel-chair bound geriatric with the bluest eyes you ever saw. He delivers pizza for small change when he is not working as a getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey) who masterminds a series of bank robberies. One heist with psychopaths Bats (Jamie Foxx) and Buddy (Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame) and his wife Darling aka Monica (Eiza Gonzalez) goes terribly wrong. Baby tries to flee with the cops and criminals in hot pursuit.
Wright orchestrates the frenetic chases, violence and music like a marriage of true minds. Interestingly, Baby and Buddy enjoy utterly lovely relationships with their respective partners. Wright also likes happily ever after in black and white imagery, but don’t expect anything mushy. Just hold on to your seat belt.