Drive, Baby, Drive
Baby Driver is directed by Edgar Wright and stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, and Jon Hamm.
Hold on to your butts; Baby Driver is a zipping zapper of an action thrill ride that just might be the most fun you'll have at any film this summer. There's plenty of car chases and shoot-outs, but the best part of it all is the wicked soundtrack. Baby Driver is all about the music, and the action is all the better because of it. If Edgar Wright is a truly audacious individual, I would think he would've wanted to have this film released the same weekend of Transformers: The Last Knight just to rub it into Michael Bay's face that you don't need to be cacophonous and explosion-heavy to be a top-notch action film. I would be confident that Baby Driver would turn out to be the box office victor against Bay's latest Transformers clunker, if the general American movie-going population isn't as gullible as I sometimes think it is.
Our plot centers on young man, Baby (Elgort). He lives with his deaf foster father, Joseph (CJ Jones), after his parents were killed in a car accident when he was a child. Baby was left with permanent tinnitus after the accident, which he blocks out by keeping in a pair of earbuds and listening to music almost non-stop. The music, turns out, makes Baby into a highly talented getaway driver who is super skilled at driving fast. As a result, Baby assists criminal mastermind, Doc (Spacey), by serving as the getaway driver for various bank robberies and other heists. Baby works for Doc to pay off a debt that Baby incurred after stealing a car from Doc. Baby is able to work enough jobs to get his debt paid off, but he begins to see more of the gruesome aspects of the criminal world such as seeing a couple of dead, bloodied bodies. Baby later meets Deborah, a girl working at a diner that he walks into, and the two develop a relationship. Just when it seems like Baby is able to start a normal life, Doc pulls him back in for another job, and, from there, things start to go awry.
I think of Baby Driver in the same vein as John Wick and Kingsman: The Secret Service; it knows how to be stylish, fun, and not overly ridiculous. And with John Wick: Chapter 2 coming out earlier this year and Kingsman getting its Golden Circle sequel later this year, I should bet money on a Baby Driver 2 sometime down the road. Compared to John Wick and Kingsman, Baby Driver more-so fits the Kingsman panache; it centers on a young adult male who is doing big boy things in a dangerous big boy world, and the film successfully blends action, comedy, and style together.
- Let's talk about that soundtrack by Steven Price (he won the Oscar for Best Original Score for Gravity), because it's what turns Baby Driver into the smash hit that it is. The soundtrack has a wide range of songs from artists like Queen, Simon & Garfunkel, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and The Beach Boys. Baby maneuvers throughout the film by keeping his body and driving in harmony with the songs that he is listening to. There's one moment where Baby is about to drive off after a robbery, but he has to restart a song because the timing is off. Bullets being fired during a massive shootout are in sync with the beat of the song that's playing. Nothing in this movie is complete without the soundtrack, and if you ever need a reminder of how important that music can be to a good film, well, here it is.
- There really aren't any major low points in Baby Driver, though the film can seem as if it's skidding a little bit when a robbery or car chase isn't going down. This down time is usually spent on Baby and Debora falling in love or watching Baby talk with his foster father through sign language. Baby likes to spend some of his time recording parts of conversations that he has with others and using these recordings to make his own beats. I especially love the mix of Kevin Spacey saying, "Was he slow?" with Jon Bernthal simply replying, "No." It's all about the music, baby.
In what has been a roller coaster summer so far in cinema, Baby Driver is right up there with Wonder Woman as one of the summer's best new releases. It's fun, kinetic mayhem that just might have the best soundtrack you'll hear from any film this year. Music and action go together like bread and butter, and let me not forget to mention that the film also has some quality humor on top of it all. Fasten your seat belts; Baby Driver is a wicked fun and memorable ride at the movies.
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