‘Baby Driver’ Review – Driving to the Beat

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I’ve always been a fan of Edgar Wright’s films. He has a way of blending hilarity with some darker beats. “Baby Driver” is probably one of his least comedic films to date, but with the lack of immense comedy comes a film more grounded by the conflicts of reality that the main character must contend with. Filled with non-stop action, sound, and a soundtrack that complements every scene so wonderfully, “Baby Driver” is entertaining and exciting. Its action sequences are striking and it’s quite possibly one of the more unique films you’ll see at the theater this summer.

Image from the movie "Baby Driver"Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver. Tangled in a series of heists headed by Doc (Kevin Spacey), Baby is fine with doing his job so long as he never stops to reflect upon what it actually entails or what it makes him in the eyes of the law: a criminal. Suffering from tinnitus, Baby fills his life and his ears with constant music. It’s like how everyone must feel walking down the street wishing they had their own soundtrack filling each crevice of their lives. In this case, the music is necessary to Baby and to the movie itself. He works with criminals (Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez, and Jon Bernthal) to various degrees and gets his cut. But does he want to stay a getaway driver forever? After he meets Debora (Lily James), who works in a diner and leads a life of normalcy beyond Baby’s comprehension, he is forced to come to terms with what he really wants, who he is, and that the life he leads may not be as easy to leave as he thought.

The film moves at a swift pace, with each piece of the action setting off a chain of events that escalate and raise the stakes until all hell pretty much breaks loose. What’s most admirable about “Baby Driver,” besides the fantastically shot driving sequences, is the way the film’s scenes are cut to the music. Every beat, musical change, and lyric plays out in a tremendous fashion. The music itself, which includes selections from various genres, is its own character in the film and is so deeply ingrained within plot. Without it, the movie would have felt bereft in many ways.

If there’s one major complaint I have, it’s that the film didn’t really allow the characters, besides Baby, to have too much depth. The romance aspect felt too ideal and the appeal of dropping everything for love would have felt more captivating if there’d been just a bit more time allotted to establish the relationship between Baby and Debora beyond what was given. Speaking generally, the characters in “Baby Driver” are probably the least developed of any of Wright’s films, which is interesting given the fact that the film is far more grounded in reality than, say, “Hot Fuzz.” Wright hits all the right notes when it comes to Baby, but it’s all the other characters that feel just a bit shortchanged. However, they’re all unique in personality (you can’t have Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx in a film where that isn’t the case), and each offer something different to Baby throughout the film.

Image from the movie "Baby Driver"Lily James’ Debora, who fits perfectly into the mold of the girl-next-door, becomes largely a representation of a life beyond Baby’s world, of the normalcy he craves. Despite this criticism, she is the second-most developed character and her reaction to getting caught up in everything is interesting. Having said that about the characters, it’s Baby’s growth as a character that was the most satisfying. He started off as someone who didn’t question any orders he was given to someone whose realizations were causing him inner turmoil. For a long time, his job was a means to an end and it wasn’t until the fog cleared that he figures out just what he wants, needing to shed the life he led and discover who he is beyond the shelter of the driver’s wheel.

Ultimately, “Baby Driver” is a high-octane heist film that moves just as fast as Baby drives a car. The action is intense and honestly some of the best I’ve seen in a while. There’s a straight trajectory when it comes to Baby’s journey, the dialogue is sharp and the performances are outstanding (Spacey and Foxx being the solid standouts). Loud, fun, and with a soundtrack that complements the film in all the right ways, “Baby Driver” is like being on a roller coaster, with its twists and turns coming quick and a feeling of exhilaration unlike any other.

80%
80%
Great

Loud, fun, and with a soundtrack that complements the film in all the right ways, "Baby Driver" is like being on a roller coaster, with its twists and turns coming quick and a feeling of exhilaration unlike any other.

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About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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