Baby Driver is the newest film from one of my favorite filmmakers, Edgar Wright. I’ve seen all of his films and even his television series Spaced, which I love. I was looking forward to seeing him direct Ant-Man, but that fell through and never happened. It would have been cool to see what he would have done with a superhero film. But, Edgar is just one of those filmmakers whose going to make his movie. You don’t hire him to make your movie. See he gravitated towards this instead, a project he’s been thinking about for a couple decades apparently. Baby Driver is most definitely a passion project. You can feel it. I believe it’s based on a book, too, isn’t it? I thought I remembered reading that like last year. Anyway, it’s a total original.
You’re given a pretty basic plot, one that we’re all very familiar with. A main protagonist who is involved in crime and wants to get out, and is only doing one more job before he/she can get out clean. Something, of course, goes wrong and fucks everything up. That’s basically what you’re getting here. Baby (played by Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver who primarily works for a guy named Doc (played by Kevin Spacey). It’s not something he’s particularly proud of, but he’s damn good at it. He’s an unbelievable driver, and reckless as shit but he pulls it off.
Baby was in an accident when he was a young kid, a car accident. Both his parents died. He survived, but not without a permanent injury. They don’t really go into a whole lot of detail about it, but he’s always listening to music to drown out this ever-present ringing in his ears. A condition called tinnitus. And music is a major part of the story and film, it’s almost a character in and of itself. I can’t stress enough, it’s such a giant component in the movie. Baby plays music while he’s driving and even times everything to the beat of whatever he’s listening to. It’s quite meticulous but allows for super fun and rhythmic sequences.
It makes for some pretty impressive car chases. The action sequences in this movie are quite good. Again, a lot of the choreography is sort of rhythmically timed with source music throughout the film. It’s a bit difficult to explain, you’d have to see it for yourself to really get it. None of this is surprising, though. Edgar has always been good at this kind of stuff. As a director and visual storyteller, he’s always been super precise and inventive with his shots and camera work. It’s definitely the most stylish film of the year.
Anyway, the movie takes a turn when Baby meets Deborah, a waitress at a local diner. A chemistry quickly blooms between the two of them. The dialogue is great. Baby finishes his final job with Doc and starts spending more time with Deborah, who he’s pretty much dating at this point. Everything is going good. Until Doc shows up again, with another job. And it all goes to shit after that.
We’re introduced to plenty of great supporting characters in this film. Particularly Bats (Jamie Foxx) and Buddy (Jon Hamm). There are some genuinely tense and gripping moments with these two characters. Little stuff that really caught me off guard, but I loved. The movie is completely predictable, there are some turns here and there that you won’t really see coming. One thing I was not expecting to see was a very touching relationship between Baby and his foster parent Joseph, played by CJ Jones. The character in the movie is deaf, and so is the actor, which is fucking awesome. So shoutout to Edgar for actually casting a deaf actor. He and Buddy communicate with ASL.
It’s small touches like this that really make the movie shine. Along with the terrific soundtrack, the actors and all of their performances and the great action sequences. If Baby Driver wasn’t on your radar before, it certainly should be now.