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Baby Driver


Ansel Elgort and Lily James star in a scene from the movie "Baby Driver." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Sony)

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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Stylish and energetic, the high-octane crime drama "Baby Driver" (TriStar) blends pop music, dizzying car chases and some dark humor to impressive effect.

While the film's basic values are sound, however, late plot developments involve a quantity of bloodletting that will seem excessive to many moviegoers.

Ansel Elgort plays the title character, who prefers the moniker Baby to his real name. An otherwise decent young man, Baby is being forced to serve as the getaway driver in a series of bank robberies to pay off a debt he incurred to callous mobster Doc (Kevin Spacey).

This brings him into contact and collaboration with a series of lowlifes, including Wall Street executive-turned-thief Buddy (Jon Hamm), Buddy's moll Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) and aptly nicknamed psychopath Bats (Jamie Foxx). The better part of Baby's nature, meanwhile, is expressed in the care he gives his deaf and ailing foster father, Joe (CJ Jones), and in his romance with sprightly diner waitress Debora (Lily James).

Writer-director Edgar Wright earns his paycheck with a production carefully choreographed down to the last gesture, and there's an amiable and appealing spirit to most of the proceedings. Elgort invites strong sympathy for the orphaned, often silent Baby.

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