Directed by: Edgar Wright
Written by: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Eliza Gonzalez
Released: June 28, 2017
Baby Driver is awesome and you should go see it. If you’re reading this and haven’t seen Baby Driver yet, stop reading this and go see Baby Driver.
You might think I’m being a little hyperbolic in that opening paragraph, and I’m sorry about that, but when an original movie comes out and it’s also not just good, but really good, I feel compelled to want people to spend their money watching it rather than wasting their time reading a nobody such as myself praise it. Nonetheless, if you’re still here, this is my review of Baby Driver.
When I watched Baby Driver, what immediately stuck out to me was its style. I’ve never seen an Edgar Wright movie before (something that requires a penance on my part), but I know his movies up until now have been comedies, not action. Coulda fooled me, because this is an action movie that oozes stylishness. It’s as cool and daring as its protagonist Baby. Yes, that’s what they call him in the movie. Baby is a young man who works as a getaway driver for robbery crews to pay off his debt to Kevin Spacey’s character, during the film he meets a café waitress named Deborah whom he falls in love with, compelling him to want to leave his life of crime even quicker to start a new life with her. Baby, played very well by Ansel Elgort, is a protagonist who’s childish, calculating, and kind all at once. He’s not just some typical action hero. He’s layered, with a tragic past that gives context to his eccentric behavior in the film, most notably him having his headphones on playing music almost constantly, especially while on the job. The side characters are very well cast and played as well, most notable being Jon Hamm as a robber whose character slowly becomes unraveled as the movie goes on, Kevin Spacey as Baby’s charming but ruthless boss, and Jamie Foxx as the most vicious and bloodthirsty member of the crew. Each member of the main cast does a great job of showcasing the different aspects of their characters, with thanks to a smart script that leads subverts audience expectations and keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.
Baby Driver’s action scenes are fast and chaotic. Every scene cuts to the next at a very quick pace. However, the lack of shaky cam and Edgar Wright’s excellent direction makes this a strength, not a weakness, with the action being able to remain coherent and easy to follow in spite of its chaotic nature. They all build off one another, with the getaway car chase at the end of the final heist being my personal favorite in how everything escalated and put Baby in territory one wouldn’t expect him to see. The movie’s excellent soundtrack comes into play during the action scenes, not just because it’s awesome (and it is) but also because it’s how Baby gets pumped up as well.
The film never forgets about how important it is to settle down for a moment, and it’s all the better for it. The scenes such as where Baby is just conversing with one of the robbers he’s driving for about music, or where he’s speaking in sign language with his deaf foster father are important for the humanity they give to Baby and even some of the more antagonistic characters without coming off as forced or unearned. Everyone feels human.
Baby Driver falls short of greatness due to some weaker elements however. Baby’s love interest isn’t by any means bad and has a personality, but she isn’t particularly memorable and their chemistry doesn’t quite get there for me. There’s been worse but there’s also been better. I was also disappointed by how quickly Jon Bernthal came and left the film. What was the point in him being there if you’re not going to use his strengths to your full advantage? Not having him play a larger part is a missed opportunity, but he does leave quite an impression for as short as his part is in the movie.
Despite not being a great movie, Baby Driver is still a very good movie and one of the best of 2017 so far. This is one not to be missed, even in the blockbuster heavy summer season.