Baby Driver - Review
A lot of people complain that there is nothing "original" at the movies anymore. Everything is based off of a book or a comic; or it is a sequel, prequel, spinoff, reboot or remake. But those things can be very good, and even if they are not, when they continue to make money (like the Transformers franchise), they will never stop being made. So when a real original film comes around from one of the most creative and talented filmmakers working today, everyone should get on their knees and thank the Movie Gods that it exists. Baby Driver from Edgar Wright is that movie, and it is a fantastic and worthwhile adventure to see on the big screen! Read on to get some in depth thoughts on Wright's newest flick.
Edgar Wright has always been somewhat of a meticulous filmmaker. Things need to be precise. Every frame is crafted a certain way for a reason and the payoff is usually tremendous. That is why he left Marvel's Ant-Man - the studio interfered too much. The problem is that he makes a lot of comedies (he made the incredible Cornetto Trilogy) and they usually don't command the same respect from audiences as dramas do. Baby Driver is not a comedy, but there are plenty of fun moments. I wouldn't call it a straight up "drama" either. I would say it is Wright's love story to music, presented as a love story, musical and heist/car chase movie all rolled into one.
Let's start with the music. There is a little something in there for everyone. The spectrum of music presented should appeal to fans of any type. The music is used in a clever way. It isn't just a backdrop, it is in sync with the action. Every gun shot, tap, click, and brake is to the beat of a song. See what I mean about meticulous? That isn't easy to do. Nearly the whole movie uses this formula, but the opening scene scene in particular is a true work of art. It is akin to the opening scene of La La Land on the highway but on adrenaline - and if all of those cars were being chased by the cops. Action movies keep stepping their game up, and audiences are demanding more out of their action. This certainly raises the bar for future films, and has set a precedent for car chases and action scenes to come.
Ansel Elgort (who would make a fantastic young Han Solo by the way) plays Baby - a person who has tinnitus so he listens to music all the time to drown out the constant ringing in his ears. He stole the car of Doc (Kevin Spacey), who happens to be a crime lord. He makes Baby work for him, as a get away driver to pay him back for the stuff Baby lost when he boosted that initial car. We learn all of that via exposition as we start to see the life of Baby. It doesn't seem like a happy life. He then meets a waitress that he falls in love with and things change from there. He wants to get out and stop driving after his debt is paid up but Doc doesn't want to lose him because he's Doc's "good luck charm." He's a kid who made a mistake working with a bunch of criminals (like Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm) so he can't get out as easy as he wants to.
Every person Baby works with gets wonderful character development. You get a a sense that they have been doing this for a very long time. They are all seasoned believable characters. But the action and the story never stop to portray that. It is all seamless, and the different elements work together flawlessly, like an orchestra performing a symphony. Edgar Wright is the conductor of this symphony making sure every note is perfect. He makes the brass and the woodwinds and the strings work in perfect unison and the result is a beautiful piece of artistic expression.
If I had any criticism it would be that the women characters were a bit generic. They were fully realized, but still generic. The male characters had something unique about them that you remembered. The women really didn't. Edgar Wright is a thoughtful filmmaker, but could have done a better job with the only two significant female characters in the movie.
Some might say the tone was a worth criticizing too. I disagree. It was manic, sure, but it wasn't sloppy. The tone is pure Edgar Wright, something you can sort of see in all of his movies. It goes fast and furious (no pun intended) but then it lets you catch your breath; as soon as you do, it speeds up again. It is a healthy workout pace. Wright knows how to tell a story and spends time when he needs to and moves things a long when he doesn't.
This movie has something for everybody. Music, romance, action, cars, humor, heart, drama, spectacle and more. What do you look for in a movie? I would be willing to bet that you can find it in Baby Driver.
Original movies are a rarity now days. Fantastic original movies are even less common. On this Independence Day weekend go support original cinema. Between all that this movie has to offer and most movie theaters having air conditioning, there is no reason not to go.
But if you can't actually go to the theater for whatever reason, you can still support original cinema by watching the wonderful Okja on Netflix! (Review here).
Baby Driver is in theaters everywhere.