Fast and the Furious movies, it’s time to park your vehicles, there is is a new driver in town. Yes, his name is Baby. B-A-B-Y. Edgar Wright blasts back onto the scene with his latest film Baby Driver. How does the original idea fare in the sea of remakes, spinoffs, and rehashed plots? Put on your earbuds, find the right track and let’s go!
Baby Driver centers on getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort). He has persistent tinnitus that creates a ringing in his ears, remedied only by drowning out the ringing with music. He works under Doc (Kevin Spacey) and a rotating crew of thieves, consisting of Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzales), and Bats (Jamie Foxx). On the cusp of his last job, Baby falls for sweet diner waitress Debora (Lily James). He is then pulled into one last job that is more complicated than it seems.
Baby Driver is easily one of the most original films I have seen in theaters thus far in 2017. It spices up the heist film and makes it sleek, yet super fun. It’s like Edgar Wright saw Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and said to himself, “I want to do a film like that.”, and he constructed Baby Driver around this central idea. It reels you in within the first few beats of its first song. All you see is this kid with his shades and his iPod. From there, it keeps the adrenaline going. Wright does provide some spaces to take deep breaths with Baby and Debora getting to know each other, creating higher stakes for the climax.
The best part of the movie is the relationship of music and image. Baby’s music choices create a unique sense of flow for the movie. The music never overpowered the plot and the plot never overpowered the music. The music was an asset to Baby’s character and makes you connect with him more. When he’s happy, the music is happy and the beats are lighter. When the film is tense, the music is tense and has crisp beats that are emphasized in the editing (another spot-on element in this film!). Music serves to make the action stronger and more enunciated. I love how Baby Driver (and some movies in general) seek to train their audience, shaping their expectations and perceptions to fit the movie. Music is so ingrained in the film’s DNA that when the music vanishes and we hear the ringing Baby experiences, it puts you on edge. It really helped to enhance the tension in certain moments.
Baby Driver is also boosted by the great performances. The cast delivers, bringing their specialties and some surprises. I loved Ansel Elgort in The Fault in Our Stars and he brought the same charm to this film as he did then. He also has matured a little bit, having this cross to bear of being in the criminal world, but not wanting anything to do with it. The thieves (Eiza Gonzales, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx) are from a seedy criminal underworld, but their performances make them appear more sophisticated.
Overall, Baby Driver is an adrenaline-filled movie that feels original. Wright gives the film a series of twists and turns that are unpredictable and keep you on your toes. The soundtrack was an eclectic blend of instrumentals and vocals that complimented the film as a whole. I was smiling so much while watching the intense car chases, it was so fun. I give Baby Driver an A. This is what audiences want in the summer. Something fresh, new, and original. I want to find an excuse to see this movie again. Go see this movie while it’s in theaters. Show Hollywood that original ideas are still profitable!
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