In the brief amount of time I’ve been on this planet there are few things I’ve come to respect more than Edgar Wright. I don’t spend a lot of time watching movies or TV shows, I’ve said that before on this site, but I do have an interest in a handful of directors. So when one of these directors release a new film, generally, I’m compelled to go and see it. This was the case for Baby Driver.
I was very lucky. Thanks to my college I was given the option to go to a very early screening of the film mostly due to the fact that the film was entirely filmed in Atlanta and the experience was unlike anything I’ve seen in a film yet. While the film was fantastic I guess this is a bit of a disclaimer. There were bits of the film that struck me in awe because I knew where it was taking place. They used terms and shot at locations that I drive past on a daily basis so the film felt very surreal to me. There would be specific scenes that would have me grinning from ear to ear because the action is absolutely on point and the fact that it’s taking place in a place you’re so familiar with just felt so awesome to me. So if you’re familiar with Atlanta anyway I would hope you’d go and see this film. Now on to the actual review.
I would consider this film to be a pseudo musical. No, the characters don’t dance around and sing (a lot) but music plays an important role to the film and to our main character of the film, Baby, but I’ll dive into that in a moment as I want to touch on the characters first. Baby drives cars, really fast and really well. Ansel Elgort does a fantastic job playing the titular role. His character is more reactionary to the world around him, he only does what he does because he has to, not because he really wants to, but is really a good guy who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The film feels very black and white to me, good and bad. Everyone on the left side, including Baby, is considered the good guys and everyone on the right side is considered a bad guy. The left side is trying to get away from the right side but it never really can. Kevin Spacey, Doc, is brilliant and channels some of what has made him such a likable yet utterly despicable villain in House of Cards. Jamie Foxx, Bats, seriously terrified me in the film. Every time he was in a scene I was nervous about what was going to happen and I think this is one of the best roles he’s played in a while. It seems he had fun with the role too. Jon Hamm, Buddy, was also brilliant and really shines in the third act. He is a criminally underrated actor. The only true weak point was with Lily James’ acting and her character. She cannot do a southern accent and that was, unfortunately, distracting for me. Without spoiling too much her character, Deborah, seems a bit off but so does Baby. Honestly they are a match and it’s because of her that Baby decides it’s time to get out of the life of crime he’s living in and search for greener pastures. But they have a very pure love story. It’s done so well and feels very innocent compared to most movies in Hollywood these days. Overall the characters do very well for the film. Some may say the characters are one dimensional but I wouldn’t completely agree. The villains serve the film well and act as the perfect obstacles between Baby, Deborah, and a better life.
So as I stated above, I’d almost consider this film a pseudo musical with how much music is relied upon in the film. Every action scene is perfectly choreographed to the selected song. It’s akin to when you listen to music and it pumps you up. Maybe you act out parts of the song, you get a little exaggerated because the song excites you. That’s how the action feels. Baby, in turn, does the exact thing during these scenes too, though. When he falls in love, he turns to music. When he’s drifting from lane to lane to escape from some cops, he’s listening to the music. Even when he’s just walking down the street to get some coffee, he’s listening to music. Now this isn’t to say that all he does throughout the film is listen to music. The film does a great job at establishing a presence when there is no music. It forces you to pay a bit more attention and it mirrors what the Baby is generally facing on screen. There are physical and mental reasons as to why he constantly listens to music though and I recommend you go see the film to find out why. The soundtrack for the film is definitely one I want to pick up when it comes out though. I feel like it’s a continuing trend of movies using classic rock in either their movies or trailers but the way that Baby Driver handles this is with such an impressive style
So if the characters are on point and the music is great was there anything I didn’t care for with the film? I previously stated that Lily James did not do a southern accent really well. If you’re from the southern United States you won’t care for it, other places may not be able to notice. The middle of the film gets a bit long in parts but it’s not bad. The ending is also very very clichéd but I still liked it. I think the humor was a bit odd. There were times where I thought the scene was very tense and the audience ended up laughing at something said by one of the villains. What was said was genuinely funny, it just didn’t resonate well with me considering what was going on. The third act for the film is fantastic. There are a few shots that had me sitting with my mouth held open as there were a few twists. The final showdown between two of the characters is incredible. The film does a fantastic job at showcasing the rage between these two characters. The film all in all does a great job at showing just how brutal the villains are from the start of the film with Baby being the only one with a moral compass.
Overall I absolutely loved this film. It’s such a fresh take on heist films. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of Edgar Wright. It’s a slick, fun ride that is a different feeling to most of the movies that are out right now that should easily add a few new (old) songs to your list of favorites.