Hollywood has been absolutely begging for original material lately and Baby Driver presented a unique and fresh idea which delivers on every level. Edgar Wright is at the helm and his close and intimate style is on full show here, making the movie immersive and gripping until the very end.
The movie follows Baby (Ansel Elgort), a getaway driver for a criminal gang ran by a man named Doc (Kevin Spacey). The first two acts of the film focus on Baby trying to get out of the gang in order to try and enjoy a normal life. This coincides with his relationship with his girlfriend, Debora (Lily James), as the two hope to hit the road once Baby gets out. Baby does two jobs with crews that include Buddy (Jon Hamm), Bats (Jamie Foxx), Griff (Jon Bernthal) and Darling (Eiza Gonzalez). Once these are done Baby thinks that he’s out and begins to enjoy life with Debora. To his dismay though, Doc informs him that he’s not out and threatens him and his loved ones. This is a really interesting conflict as you can see that Baby hates it, he doesn’t want anyone to get hurt but his hand is forced for that exact reason. The third act is the crew setting up for a big heist, Baby constantly goes back and forth on whether to go through with it as threats are lurking all over the place. With so many elements in play, shit ultimately hits the fan and everything falls apart, but the journey there is one hell of a ride.
There isn’t much more I can say on the plot because what makes this film so great is the way it’s told. As you would assume from the title there is a lot of focus on driving in this movie, but the way it’s shot is just one of reasons this film feels so fresh. In movies such as The Fast And The Furious, the camera is constantly cutting away along with constant edits. What Baby driver does differently is that the camera follows the car all the way, this accompanied by the intimate style of Edgar Wright makes you feel as though you are right there with Baby.
The second aspect that makes this film so different is the music and the way it’s used. Baby suffers from a constant ringing in his ears so he always plays music to drown it out, the music Baby is listening to plays over the action scenes which really help you to get into them and makes them incredibly fun to watch. The music is also used in a different way that utilises the characters problems in relation to the audience. A lot of the time, you hear what Baby hears so when he takes his ear phones out, you actually hear the ringing that he hears, this is yet another method that helps to immerse you in the movie.
After watching the trailers, one of my worries was that the character of Baby was going to be too boring for me to get into. It literally took less than two minutes for me to realise how wrong I was. Baby is a very troubled character and his development and transformation over the course of the film is near perfect. At the start of the film, he barely says a word, only when he’s in private do you see the true Baby as he dances around and sings along to his music. Debora and his adoptive father are what really drive Baby to change, his dad inspires him and Debra brings him out of his shell. These two things together provide Baby with the guts needed to make the vital tough decisions at the end of the film. Baby goes from a quiet kid, pinned down by his issues, to a man who is no longer scared and can stand on his own two feet.
The action is faced paced and is always thrilling, it’s not huge or over the top, it’s grounded but still manages to be intense while also keeping the big stakes feel. The advantage of the movie being driving based is that the majority of the action is always on the move, even when Baby doesn’t have a car, he showcases some great parkour skills which work really well with the setting and the creative choreography.
Nobody gives a bad performance in this movie, everybody is brilliant from Kevin Spacey’s mellow but still scary Doc, to Jamie Foxx’s off the handle Bats who gives the film its edginess and uncertainty as you don’t know what problem he’s going to cause next. The dialogue in this film is excellent and the fact that no one trusts each other makes every interaction between the crew immensely intense.
The big moments feel big and every aspect helps the other as they all work so well together. There was a joint sigh of relief in the theatre when Baby finally got his happy ending after coming so close on numerous occasions. The film is directed, written and styled beautifully, everything feels fresh and amazing as well as fitting into place so comfortably. Baby Driver excels in every aspect and has your full attention from start to finish.