I loved Baby Driver (trailer here!) extremely much but it kind of took a backseat to other things going on in life. Things like 1) AMERICA (‘MURICA) and 2) FRANCE and 3) TRAVEL to the quiet wilds of Pennsylvania.
So now let’s get down and dirty and talk about Baby Driver because it’s really excellent (assuming you like any one or combination of the following: heist films, gangster films, action, car chases, and/or music- should be most people, I think).
The basic premise of the film (no spoilers, I promise) is that a certain young getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort, who was in the terrible Fault in Our Stars thing) listens to music constantly to drown out the ringing in his ears, caused by a childhood vehicular accident. He falls in love with a chick named Debra/Debora/Deborah (Lily James, who was in the terrible Cinderella thing) who works at a diner and wants to leave behind his life of crime so they can drive off into the sunset and live happily ever after.
What makes the movie really excellent? Well, all of the actors give great performances; Ansel Elgort and Lily James for two, but also Kevin Spacey having fun as the big bad boss, and Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez (she’s so cute!), and Jaime Foxx as dangerous criminals. Also Flea, from Red Hot Chili Peppers! (Dad was very tickled).
But the true value of this film, the area where it surpasses many other films that I’ve seen before, is in the interplay between action and soundtrack. The soundtrack is all diegetic- meaning that the characters are hearing what you are hearing, and vice versa. Pretty much everything you hear, music-wise, is what Baby is playing on whichever of his musical devices he happens to be using at the time.
And how does that feed into the action?
All of the characters’ movements, every cars’ swerve and every gunshot is timed to the beat. At some points it’s like watching a car chase ballet.
Speaking of the car chase scenes- they’re beautifully shot. Pretty much everything is beautifully shot. The director (Edgar Wright) made a great choice re: shooting the car chase scenes. The film eschews unnecessary cutaways and breaks and changes in vantage point, which gives a much more continuous and interesting sense of the action. It was likely harder to film, but I really appreciated it (the actors also were filmed in the cars on the road during the car chase scenes, rather than before a green screen).
It’s a film different than any I have ever seen before (and while there are multiple films that are completely unique, it’s always very special when you find one).
Bonus points for some great funny moments.
Favorites from the soundtrack:
- Bellbottoms- John Spencer Blues Explosion
- B-A-B-Y- Carla Thomas
- Hocus Pocus- Focus
- Radar Love- Golden Earring (Dad used to play this all the time in the car when I was little)
- Baby Driver- Simon & Garfunkel
You just have to love something named after a Simon & Garfunkel song, don’t you?
It’s such an amazing mix of the polished and perfectly timed, beautifully articulate dialogue, and then the seaminess and grit of what is actually happening, action-wise.
Recommending on behalf of myself and also (if I may presume to do so) Gabriella and Dad, who watched with me.
So have you seen Baby Driver? Are you going to see it?
What would be your perfect getaway song? (I’m still figuring out mine 😉 )