By: Paris Wong
You know that feeling you get when you watch one of the classics, and you think to yourself, ‘oh yeah, that’s why this is iconic‘?
That was this entire movie.
Over the last several weeks the hype for Baby Driver hasn’t gone unnoticed, and being that I’m a fan of and follow so many in this cast, it was hard to avoid, quite frankly. Every trailer I had seen looked promising enough, though, but in all honesty I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect story-wise. The fact that it came with such high praise may have heightened my hopes for it, but I kept an open mind.
Spoiler: it was blown.
Edgar Wright has created something incredibly special with this film. The soundtrack is so killer, it’s practically its own character. It drives the cars almost as much as Ansel Elgort’s Baby does, with so much of the action coordinated to each beat (the cast and crew often wore earpieces and used counts to ensure this was accomplished). Gun fights and car chases have never looked more fun, fluid and like choreography, the way the music is weaved into the story masterful and effortless. While Elgort hit every mark (musical and otherwise), the character he had the most chemistry with was easily the soundtrack itself.
Lily James as Debora was a close second, however; theirs is a story that becomes so easy to invest yourself in. Their relationship is paced just as perfectly as the car chases, believable for the world they live in for two hours. And more importantly, rather than allowing her to fall into that trap of simply being the love interest that serves as throwaway motivation for the protagonist, she had her own agenda, her own agency. And while we’re on the subject of strong, well-written female characters, can we please just talk about Eiza González (Darling) for a moment? I love El Rey’s From Dusk Till Dawn, so upon hearing that she would be starring in this film, I was beyond excited — can we give her all the roles yet? — and she did not disappoint. In fact, she stole every single scene she was in, to the point I’d almost want a prequel starring her and Jon Hamm (Buddy) if this film wasn’t so ridiculously amazing on its own.
Jamie Foxx (Bats) was the perfect criminal for an unwitting getaway driver like Baby. He was brutal and a little unpredictable, but equally as terrifying was Hamm’s Buddy — so much so every action-packed scene with either of them had me on the edge of my seat. They’re introduced with a little lightness and comedy, but when you see them in action? Like Baby, things are put right back into perspective: they’re relentless criminals. Actual spoiler: you never actually see any of the heists, much the same way Baby blocks them out with his music, but that never detracts from the high energy that fuels the film along.
Oh, and Kevin Spacey? Another Oscar on aisle one, anyone? Did anyone actually believe he wasn’t going to kill it? (Literally.) He’s an enigma all throughout, always one step ahead of the game, but he’s the best blend of quietly terrifying and mildly hilarious. There’s a scene towards the end which offers a true slice of who his character Doc really was (adding onto a brief scene earlier), making him incrementally more likable and dividing audiences (many believe it actually took away from the story) — but of course, you should see for yourself.
At its core, Baby Driver is driven by sound, and while the story was interesting enough on its own, I cannot stress enough that the performances are what helped sell it. With every watch you are afforded with another small taste (that is, if you pay close enough attention to the details — and if you happen to follow Edgar Wright on Twitter for movie trivia), but ultimately it’s the cast that carries this film when the buds are out and it’s time to face the music.
Overall, the film toes the line of unhinged and calculating, in much the same way the characters do, and following the entire theme of the movie, it’s just fun. It’s a thoroughly entertaining experience, with a near perfect balance of drama and comedy, and it’s so pleasing to look at. Every shot deserves three thumbs up, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled the entire time (not that I can imagine many people will want to look away at all), because there are so many little things you won’t want to miss. Take that first scene in which Baby is dancing down the street — small spoiler alert: there are nods to certain lyrics, and each prop and shot is so remarkably well-done, it stands to receive its own mention here.
Baby Driver is hands down one of the best films this summer, possibly second only to Wonder Woman’s success. There were so many golden lines in this script that I can legitimately see becoming households, one from almost every character (for example, González in the diner? Chilling — I could feel everyone in the theater sit back a little, because up until that point, she’d mostly been all smiles). Heist movies aren’t generally my taste (unless you count Inception, but everyone loves Nolan, right?), but I say with every confidence that by the time the credits were rolling, this movie delivered everything I never knew I needed.
Honestly, my only gripe? That there seemed to be a few more scenes in the trailers than there were in the actual movie. I’m going to need to see everything on the cutting room floor now, please and thank you.