Baby Driver (2017) Review
Driven By Music
Ansel Elgort (Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars) portrays Baby, a young getaway driver obsessed with music. Baby is never seen without an iPod and earbuds plastered to the inside of his ears. His skills as a driver are ridiculous, especially for his age. He pulls off impressive maneuvers the likes of which The Transporter and the Fast and Furious films could only dream of. Baby works for Doc (Kevin Spacey); a veteran of the criminal underworld and leader of each heist. Doc changes up his crew for every job other than Baby since a connection between the two keeps Baby in Doc’s employment.
Baby soon falls for a diner waitress named Debora (Lily James, Cinderella) and has plans to run away with her once he pays off his debt to Doc, but Doc has a way of continuously reeling Baby back in and it’s only a matter of time before they get caught.
Baby Driver is an insane theatrical experience that is this weird but undeniably satisfying concoction mixed with an action film, a sing-along, a stream of dance numbers, and your favorite heist film. It would be like Gone in 60 Seconds meets Singin’ in the Rain meets Heat. Ansel Elgort has a way of stealing your attention with a simple look, a shaking of his shoulders, and simply lip-syncing the words to the song blasting through the thundering speakers. Elgort has this magic charisma about him that gives you this tingling sensation that you could listen to whatever he’s listening to as Baby and watch him dance, dodge traffic, avoid civilians, and simply react to city life around him as his musical lifeline beats away until your eyeballs dry out.
The music of the film is outstanding. With a soundtrack that includes the likes of The Beach Boys, T. Rex, Beck, Blur, Barry White, Simon & Garfunkel, and Danger Mouse among many others, the music to the film spans all genres and is this diverse mix of delicious sounds that will hopefully cater to audiences who have various musical tastes. Baby samples the sounds of everyday life, whether it’s conversations had with his crew before a job or a diner waitress singing during her shift, Baby turns routine noises into fantastic melodies and he’s got a case full of cassettes that your ears are begging to spend more time with. A trait Baby Driver has that makes it stand out to anything it may remind you of; its action sequences are edited to the beat of whatever song is playing. Gunfire especially explodes from the chamber to the beat of the song and it is absolutely the coolest thing to see in a film this year.
If you’re familiar with Edgar Wright, then his filmmaking style has become as recognizable as Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg or anyone else that may come to mind. There are two long wandering shots in Baby Driver, one is when Baby first goes to get coffee and the other is the shot at the junkyard, that are directly tied to Shaun of the Dead and the scene where Shaun walks past a bunch of zombies to the shop to get Cornetto ice cream. The dialogue and character banter is on the same level as humor as James Gunn’s best stuff from Guardians of the Galaxy. The Halloween mask confusion, nearly everything Bats (Jamie Foxx) says, the code name conversation, and Doc’s crazy threats are all memorable not only because of how the lines are delivered but also because of Wright’s ability to write hilarious dialogue and an amusing story.
There are conflicting emotions regarding the overall feeling one has relating to how much you may enjoy Baby Driver. Most people seem to love it with critics currently keeping it 100% fresh over on Rotten Tomatoes. While the film is enjoyable and not bad by any stretch of the imagination, there was still a sense of disappointment after seeing it. As far as music and action goes, Baby Driver downright kills it but the majority of the humor is like an internal kind of funny rather than being laugh out loud hilarity. There’s this predictable factor to the film, as well. Baby’s fate can really only go in one direction and Deborah is kind of bland as far as a romantic interest goes. You understand why Baby falls for her. He’s been living this crazy lifestyle where everything moves so fast and blood and money fall into his lap on a daily basis. So he’s looking for something plain and ordinary; a taste of the normal life. The problem is Deborah is forgettable in comparison to the other outlandish and sociopathic traits of everyone else in the film.
Edgar Wright is a lusciously talented writer and director who has created some of the best films to be released in the past decade and a half. There is this massive amount of excellence in Baby Driver to an almost overloaded capacity with sublime music, witty dialogue, masterfully dynamic editing, and blood pumping action. But there’s something lacking that keeps Baby Driver from being a perfect experience. The anticipated conclusion feels too similar to Scott Pilgrim vs the World and leaves you craving something that measures up to the rest of the film’s bona fide brilliance.