My Rating: 7.5 out of 10
After seeing Baby Driver, I’m glad that I didn’t initially watch many of the trailers. Part of the movie’s appeal is its ability to keep the audience guessing, which I think would have been diminished had I watched more of the trailers. This is especially true since the film doesn’t have an exceptionally unique plot. There are a few basic beats to the story, and those are somewhat ruined by many of the trailers that I’ve seen since watching the movie. That’s why I recommend going to see Baby Driver knowing as little as possible. With that said, the key reason to see the film is not the plot, but the fascinating characters, impressive choreography, and powerful emotions. While the plot isn’t exactly groundbreaking, the story is infused with a certain quirkiness that can only work in a movie written and directed by Edgar Wright (the director behind Scott Pilgrim and Shaun of the Dead.)
So, what is Baby Driver about? To keep things as simple as possible, its about a talented teenage getaway driver nicknamed Baby (played by Ansel Elgort), who, due to a childhood injury, suffers from tinnitus and constantly plays music to drown out the ringing in his ears. There’s a lot more to it than that, but I really don’t want to give anything more away regarding the story. One of the coolest aspects of the film is how the action often syncs up beat-for-beat with the music playing on Baby’s iPod. It must have taken a lot of planning and practice to get the timing right for several scenes, especially some of the long takes. Its obvious that Edgar Wright loves music (in particular, music from the 60s and 70s). While none of the songs were ones that I would have selected for a “pump up” playlist, the energy and emotion that each song was meant to illicit from the audience was obvious. This was especially true during the action scenes, where the music cranked up the adrenaline and the cinematography made you feel as though you were in the car with Baby and the others.
The soundtrack also helps to accentuate other emotions, which is another strength of the film. The range of emotions that Baby Driver creates makes it hard to pin down exactly what kind of movie this is meant to be. Sometimes it can be deadly serious. While, at other moments, the film seems more like a parody of itself and other movies. Despite the slightly confusing tonal shifts, the film manages to really to drive home how the audience is supposed to feel at a specific moment and I think the music really helps in that regard. Not only that, but those emotional moments were consistently powerful. Some scenes were heartbreaking, others were hilarious, some were sentimental, and others were full of the kind of tension that makes you want to hold your breath. In addition, it is worth noting that the ending was well done. Without giving anything away, this movie easily could have had a cop out ending, but Edgar Wright took a more realistic approach that I think wrapped the story up nicely.
It’s impossible to talk about Baby Driver without delving into the incredible cast that starred in the film. The collection of famous faces should be reason enough for most people to go see the movie. Unsurprisingly, Kevin Spacey managed to pull off another terrifying performance. I also loved Eiza Gonzalez, Jamie Foxx, and Jon Hamm in their respective roles. Even though their characters weren’t the fleshed out in the film, the three of them were unique and a lot of fun to watch. Baby’s character, on the other hand, had the most depth out of the entire cast. In fact, I would say the quirkiness of his character was one of my favorite things about the movie. Baby was truly a fascinating character. Ansel’s performance in the role was also phenomenal. Since Baby doesn’t speak all that much, Ansel needed to use his body language to get across the character’s identity throughout most of the film. This role was a great fit for him and will likely help him branch out from the “teen movie” genre. It may have even been his best role.
While the characters are definitely more interesting than the plot, I wish that some of them had been fleshed out a little more deeply. In comparison to Baby, characters like Debora felt a little flat. I absolutely loved Baby and Debora’s relationship with one another, but I think the chemistry they had together was more interesting than she was on her own. On a side note, I had to keep reminding myself that Lily James was not Shailene Woodley. Though I did wonder if her similar appearance to Woodley factored into the casting decision and was done to draw fans of The Fault in Our Stars to Baby Driver. Overall, I really liked the characters in the film, but thought they could have been explored a little more than they were. Also, there were a couple decisions made towards the end of the movie by Debora and Doc that I thought were a bit out of character and temporarily took me out of the story.
If you like movies with heists, epic car chases, great acting, and a ton of music from the 60s/70s, you should check out Baby Driver. I don’t necessarily know if you need to see this movie in theaters, but it does make for a good date movie and is a lot of fun to watch with friends. Also, if you are a fan of any of the incredible actors cast in the film, it would probably be worth checking for them alone.