Baby Driver review
Let’s talk about Edgar Wright. He is clearly a fan of the movies, given how much he references them in his own work. Heck, his Cornetto trilogy films (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End) are love letters to various genres while telling good stories about friendships. But his work has come of the best editing that I’ve seen. Not only is he good at creating speed and pace, but his use of sound (and not just music, but little sound effects) makes his work rewatchable just so that you can catch every little joke he threw in.
Baby Driver continues his plight to pay tribute to his favorite American movies. In the case of driving movies like Smokey and the Bandit and thief movies like Heat and Reservoir Dogs, their legacy is felt, along with more hits as a comedy. This also happens to be Edgar Wright’s first American movie, so you could tell he wanted to make something that would please his fans and a mainstream audience, likely hoping that this will lead to bigger things. I for one have been excited to see Baby Driver and how entertaining it could be as a car movie.
Getaway driver “Baby” (played by Ansel Elgort) works for criminal mastermind Doc (played by Kevin Spacy) as the best driver for bank robbers in Atlanta. Baby seems to get himself in the mindset by constantly playing music, depending on his mood and situation. This extends to his home life where he cares for his foster father, but also mixes his recorded conversations into songs. His recent mission with robbers “Buddy” (played by Jon Hamm), “Griff” (played by Jon Bernthal) and “Darling” (played by Eliza González), gets him closer to settling whatever debt he has with Doc.
Baby seems to be finding some new happiness with waitress Debora (played by Lilly James) who has a similar interest in music. To top it off, after performing a mission with “Bats” (played by Jamie Foxx), Baby thinks that his life of crime is finally over. Doc quickly visits him to tell him that is far from the truth. Baby agrees to be the getaway driver for a mission involving the US Postal service before secretly escaping with Debora. Like any good movie, several things go wrong and it’s now a chase for Baby to escape his fellow robbers and the police.
Baby Driver is exactly what I think about when I define “cinematic fun”. Like a lot of Edgar Wright’s previous movies, it’s all orchestrated in musical perfection. While this is not a musical, the constant songs are almost like a character in the movie, giving us a reminder how music can make or break a film. The first five minutes perfectly set up the comedic, but badass tone with the use of “Bellbottoms” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The movie keeps up it’s fast pace throughout the hour and fifty minute runtime. Think of this as a modern day American Graffiti if it had bank robbers.
The casting is a rare complete perfection. I cannot think of one person that was not right for the part. Ansel Elgort is very likable and charming as the young driver. He manages to carry the weight of this character’s ear problem that makes him listen to his music (which I didn’t mention before, but didn’t want to spoil too much of). Performances from Kevin Spacy, Jamie Fox and Lilly James are good, though my favorite was of Jon Hamm for reasons that I can’t give away without spoiling. Let’s just say that the role of the main villain is not who you think.
You may be surprised to learn that while there are a lot of car chases, a majority of the action does not happen till the second half. The first takes a great deal of time getting to know our characters, and the relationship that happens between Baby and Debora. If I had to make any criticism of some sort, I wish that Lilly James would have been given a little more to do, even though they make her a good “damsel in distress” type for the purpose of the story. Aside from that, I can guarantee that Baby Driver is already on my future list of favorite movies of 2017.
I’ll give this five classic IPods out of five. I have a hard time imagining that anyone will hate Baby Driver. It’s very entertaining that’s timed to perfection, like our story’s bank robbers. I can only say to get in the car and see this…in the theater. We need more original content like this.