Baby Money


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Baby Money
"A crime thriller whose lead characters are influenced by crime thrillers, caught up in a fantasy which repeatedly smacks up hard against the real world." | Photo: Courtesy of Fantasia

Discovering that one is pregnant is supposed to be a joyous thing. At least, that’s now society generally treats it, in part to keep people from panicking. 45% of pregnancies in the US are unplanned and although most expectant parents choose to continue with them anyway, the stress of figuring out how to cope can be overwhelming. Minny (Danay Garcia) doesn’t know how she can afford to keep her baby, but boyfriend Gil (Michael Drayer) is determined that they’ll find a way. He just needs to find the right job. Unfortunately there are only a few kinds of job that he’s really qualified for, and they tend to mean trouble.

Sitting in a parking lot waiting for a contact to arrive, Minny has a bad feeling about this particular job – but who ever listened to a pregnant woman about her feelings? She knows she can’t stop Gil from doing it. She wants her baby to have a father. When, inevitably, it goes wrong, she contemplates running, but Gil calls her and begs her not to go. He needs her to obtain a car – no matter what it takes to do so – and come to get him and his unstable fellow burglar Dom (Joey Kern) from the apartment where they’re hiding out.

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Gil’s situation is complicated by the presence of the apartment’s residents – now hostages – hospital technician Heidi (Taja V Simpson) and her disabled son Chris (Vernon Taylor III). It’s this situation that throws the rest into sharp relief, as Gil seems to understand straight away that his acutely difficult situation is a trivial thing compared to the long years Heidi has spent working hard. providing care, dealing with crises in both contexts and doing it all with no back-up. As Minny steps into dangerous territory for the first time to try and save her man, Heidi employs a different kind of strength and courage to handle the situation – but with escalating threats all around them, will any of these people make it through the night?

Garcia and Drayer are likable leads, the latter doing a good job of persuading viewers, as much as Minny, that Gil’s mistakes are a product of youthful stupidity and that there’s something about him worth salvaging. Whilst Gil learns and grows in the course of the story – without ever ceasing to be out of his depth – Minny discovers, as many new parents do, that she’s more capable than she thought and that she doesn’t have to let herself be pushed around. It’s Simpson who delivers the standout performance, however, and in the process she elevates the film above routine thriller territory, putting everything into perspective.

Screening as part of Fantasia 2021, Baby Money is a crime thriller whose lead characters are influenced by crime thrillers, caught up in a fantasy which repeatedly smacks up hard against the real world. It builds tension well and delivers fast-paced, brutal action scenes, sometimes pulling moves you won’t expect, but it’s also a tribute to all those people who take on the responsibilities of parenthood when they’re little more than kids themselves, and somehow manage to survive.

Reviewed on: 11 Aug 2021
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Baby Money packshot
A pair of fugitives take refuge in the house of a single mother as they wait on their pregnant getaway driver to hatch an escape plan in time for a major payday.

Director: Mikhael Bassilli, Luc Walpoth

Writer: Mikhael Bassilli, MJ Palo

Starring: Danay Garcia, Joey Kern, Taja V Simpson, Michael Drayer

Year: 2021

Runtime: 93 minutes

Country: US


Fantasia 2021

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