This was the most anticipated film of the year for me. The initial trailer immediately set lofty expectations and the positive news about the movie only helped increase the excitement. The original story, characters and even music were all ingredients that looked to build this film into something fun for the summer time. So, did “Baby Driver” live up to expectations or did it stall out? Let’s dive in and take a look in this review…
Writer and Director Edgar Wright has made some fun movies that I have enjoyed, and still enjoy to this day. “Baby Driver” is different in style but not story telling. In his films we typically see a film where the world is brighter and more care free, but, by the third act reality has set in and we’re in a dire situation that is dark and dangerous. He follows this trope once again and it continues to work for me. The opening of the film we meet “Baby” (played by Ansel Elgort) who is waiting patiently in his car while playfully dancing to the songs on his iPod while a bank is being robbed immediately left of him. From there, the film gets more and more intense as new villains are added and subtracted.
Everything about this film felt fresh and unique. This might be the first movie I’ve seen that uses music to help deliver action, dialogue and scene changes. Now, there are plenty of musicals that have been released that do exactly that and I’m not including those films in my previous statement. Musicals tell the story with song as well as dialogue because that’s the appropriate manner for those stories. Since “Baby Driver” is not a musical we must exclude those sing/song films. This is a live action film that has music engrained into the characters and story so well their movements (and the story) feel like dancing. In one scene the gun fire is set off to the music playing. In another, Baby is walking with coffee to the rhythm of the song playing on his iPod. He even drives to the rhythm and timing of the song he choses for each escape route he’s on! There are plenty of charming moments throughout this film before it gets completely dark towards the end of the second act.
The actors in this film must also be mentioned. The characters are performed so well that each stands out in the scenes they’re in. At no time, does a character feel useless and if you think they might be… there’s a good chance they won’t last much longer. That’s not a spoiler! That’s fair warning. I think this might be Jon Hamm at his best. I say this because of the transformation his character goes through from introduction to finale. Kevin Spacey gives us Kevin Spacey. Jamie Foxx, Jaime Foxx. Even Flea and Lanny Joon offer some levity for the time we spend with them. If DC/Warner Brothers needs any talented and beautiful female actors for their upcoming slate of films, they need to consider Eiza Gonzalez. She played the role of crazy quite well in this movie. She could add quality to a film like “Gotham City Sirens” as a lead female baddie who has a penchant for wearing black leather, snapping a whip and hanging out with cats. I’m just saying, black leather. Consider it Warner/DC.
In all, this movie works because of the hero story we see Baby go through. He’s a good guy who got a rough turn in life and hung out with the wrong people. In his heart, he’s not a villain despite his actions. This movie is about heart, him trying to move on from his past and the budding relationship we see between him and Debora (Lily James). These two were adorable on screen together. It’s a surprisingly innocent love affair that puts on display who the character of Baby is at his core. In story telling, we often see the protagonist (in this case Baby) called to action for those he loves or the ideals he believes in. This occurs because of his love for Debora (and in part the memory of his mother) and the realization that his life isn’t just about driving anymore. He’s forced to make several decisions and those decisions drive the remainder of the 2nd and 3rd act.
“Baby Driver” is in theaters now! I posted on social media that this might be the very first film this year that, after watching it, I wanted to walk right back into the theater to enjoy it again. I enjoyed this movie immensely! The action, the comedy, the characters, the music and the acting of Ansel as “Baby” was delightful. I had one or two minor moments of confusion or disbelief but overall the film surpassed my already lofty expectations and I can’t wait to see this film again, and then again, again. Get out of the house and go see this film! It’s definitely worth your hard earned dollars and you’ll have a great time at the theater, by yourself, with your friends or on a date. It’s a high paced, heart racing good time at the movies. Go now!