Baby Driver Review
From the brilliant mind of Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright delivers Baby Driver, the story about the best getaway driver, Baby (Ansel Elgort), working for crime lord Doc (Kevin Spacey). While he may be the best at what he does, Baby no longer wants to be part of the criminal life and only works for Doc to repay a debt. Falling in love with a woman named Deborah (Lily James) only makes it harder for him to escape the life of a crime as he is called to one last heist.
Baby Driver is an anomaly of a film because it is the ultimate balance between action, humor, and story. This film had me laughing hysterically. Jokes never feel forced and don’t hit you over the head. Some jokes come out of left field and completely catches the audience off guard. Baby Driver had so much personality that you can definitely feel Edgar Wright’s personal stamp on it. The music is the heartbeat of the film. Music flows and syncs to scenes so seamlessly that it never feels out of place. When the music is silly and fun, you feel that way. When the music is exciting and dramatic, you sense it. When the music is slow and tension building, you experience it. When one thinks of masterful usage of music, one would recall the success of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy and its Awesome Mixes. Baby Driver kicks it up a notch with its own musical flavor.
Baby Driver’s action sequences are so thrilling to watch and listen to. Watching car chases, in general can sometimes make you feel lost when camera shots aren’t edited together properly or they can even feel too slow and disengaged with static shots. However, Baby Driver nails this aspect down perfectly as the car chases in the film are shot and edited so fluidly. The sound mixing is incredible as well. There’s perfect emphasis on the sound of the car’s engine, the sound of the wheels turning and burning against the asphalt, when the music needed to be loud, and when the music needed to tone down and be subtle.
Each character is unique and has their own flavor and backstory. It felt as if every character was a scene stealer, but you can appoint this to great casting, acting, and directing. As explained in the trailers, Baby had an accident when he was a kid that left him with tinnitus (ringing in his ears) so he listens to music to drown the ringing out as well as making him focused while he’s on the job. Ansel Elgort plays Baby perfectly; a confident, but innocent character that wants nothing to do with crime. You can get a real sense of his confidence from the look in his eyes when he’s driving; outmaneuvering cop cars left and right. His facial expressions really show his regret in his actions as he performs unlawful deeds after unlawful deeds. Ironically, the more Baby tried to get out of the life of crime, the deeper he actually got into it.
Kevin Spacey really shines as crime lord Doc as he’s cunning, witty, and compassionate. Baby is indebted to Doc because of their shared past and is almost blackmailing Baby into being his getaway driver. One of the rules of their operation is to never have the same team of people on any given heist. However, Baby is the exception to Doc’s rule because he trusts Baby. Doc frequently stands up for and vouches for Baby when other members of the heist crew doubt Baby. Their relationship is an interesting one in that it contains multiple elements; that of an employer and employee, the blackmailer and victim, friends, and even almost a father-son relationship. Doc is a character you both dislike and love at the same time because of his bad, but smart decision making and the delivery of his sharp lines. I liked the relationship shared between the two characters, up until the end where their relationship takes an unexpected turn which I found questionable, but not overly flawed.
Lily James plays Deborah well, as the innocent love interest of Baby as well as the driving force for Baby to get out of doing crime. Ansel Elgort and Lily James have great chemistry together as their on-screen love is believable and adorable. Their interactions are so natural and their back and forth about music is pleasant to watch. I do feel that there were one too many of their scenes together and could’ve been edited to one scene less. Jamie Foxx’s character Bats is an absolute scene stealer as he’s both hilarious and captivating in all his scenes. He’s so believable as an impulsive, crazy criminal that you’re never sure whether to laugh or be scared of. Bats is comparable to Jamie Foxx’s other character in Horrible Bosses where he plays an ex-con. Foxx is able to flex his acting chops when he’s able to go from a more serious role in Django Unchained to a crazy, funny role in Baby Driver. Jon Hamm is another surprise standout as Buddy, the handsome bank robber that’s crazy about his wife Darling (Eiza Gonzalez). He plays a seemingly good guy that tries to relate to Baby through music as well as trying to stick up for Baby when other crew members question Baby. He plays this type of good guy so convincingly, no one sees the twist coming at the end with his character.
Baby Driver combines thrilling action, laugh-out-loud comedy, and personal storytelling to deliver a perfect summer movie. While I could easily say Baby Driver is the better of the two out of Baby Driver and the entire Fast franchise, Baby Driver is in essence, a different kind of film that’s on another level. The stellar cast, great acting, and sharp writing drives the story and never really stops. Masterfully shot action scenes are fun to watch and just make you want to become a driver on the level of Baby. To anyone reading this out there, I’d tell you to drive to the theater to see this movie, baby. I give this film, 4.5 stars out of 5 and invite you to see Baby Driver.