Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is a pulse-pounding, jukebox-jamming blast! In this wildly entertaining crime thriller, a young man called Baby is the perennial pedal-pushing getaway driver for an Atlanta crime boss known as Doc. The two of them have worked countless jobs together, and in Doc’s mind, Baby is the only one worthy behind the wheel. Unbeknownst to Doc, however, Baby plans to wipe his hands clean and hit the road for good as soon as the opportunity arrives. Tensions steadily rise as this perfect getaway driver tries to find a way out and get away from his life of crime.
The premise in Baby Driver is a familiar one, although the movie itself is anything but. Sure, it features the cliché of one last job, but the motives here are a bit different and morality is a big focus. I’ll spare the details, but this crime movie has a heart and a conscience, and at its core, it’s really a more of a love story, as Baby tries to make a daring dash for freedom all in the name of romance. After meeting a nice girl named Debora at a local diner, Baby has finally found a reason to want to break free from his past so he can live a life of love. With its romantic drive, its high-octane action, and its fresh and funky soundtrack, Baby Driver is an action thriller that would make for a perfect date night movie.
While I did very much enjoy Baby Driver, it did leave a worrisome first impression. One of the earliest scenes verges on the borderline of being a musical, and as well-crafted as the one-take scene may be, it sort of rubbed me the wrong way by making Baby look like a bozo. It was trying too hard to be cool and to me it ended up feeling pretty pretentious. Really what got me engaged in the movie was the film’s stellar supporting cast, led by Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, and Jon Bernthal, all of whom play bank robbers working for Doc. By the time the film’s second robbery rolled around, all else was forgiven, and I was eagerly strapped in for the ride.
The cast in this movie is outstanding. Foxx steals the show in every scene he’s in, playing a violent loose-cannon thug known as Bats. His intensity, wit, and strong distrust of others make Bats a character you won’t want to take your eyes off of. Hamm’s character Buddy is less abrasive, but no less intimidating when he’s angry. I really loved watching his nice guy façade crumble away when things got personal. Ansel Elgort, the teenage heartthrob from The Fault in Our Stars, has enough charm and coolness to make Baby an easy character to root for. Meanwhile, Kevin Spacey does a wonderful job balancing the complexity of his character, Doc. Eiza González is lovely and cool as Buddy’s girlfriend Darling, and Jon Bernthal truly makes the most out of his limited screen-time. All in all, I have nothing but praise for the actors as well as their well-written characters.
A big part of what makes Baby Driver so cool is its killer soundtrack, and it’s not just the music, but the way that it’s incorporated into the movie. The music itself is practically a character in the movie, as Baby is always playing songs through his iPod to drown out the ringing in his ears caused by a condition known as tinnitus. It’s used to great effect in terms of both plot and action. The movie’s eclectic music mix features over 40 songs, and much of the action is brilliantly synched up to the beat. The timing really ratchets up the fun factor and makes for a uniquely wild experience. I don’t know a good half of the songs in the movie, but this diversity helps give Baby Driver an identity of its own, and I look forward to taking the soundtrack for another spin.
Baby Driver is so fresh, fun, and entertaining that you’ve really just got to go see it for yourself. Edgar Wright has really made something special with his upbeat, funky crime thriller. The characters are compelling, the action is superb, and the comedy is hysterical. It’s one of the most laugh-out-loud funny movies of the year, but also full of edge-of-your-seat excitement. The movie builds tension so well, and it rarely takes its foot off the gas. I particularly loved the final act when Baby propels the intensity to new heights by taking charge of his own destiny, bringing forth an exciting and unpredictable turn of events. It puts an exhilarating and frantic twist on what is already a wild movie.
That’s not to say it’s a perfect movie, though. The ending itself left me feeling pretty unsatisfied. It forgoes the predictable ending for something different, and as respectable as that may be, it went on for too long and was a little too hokey and hard to believe for my taste. After riding high on Baby Driver’s adrenaline for so long, the ending botches the film’s momentum by devoting too much time to unnecessary explanation. While I even like the way the story concludes, I wish it could have gotten there a little more smoothly.
Bumpy start and finish aside, I really had a great time Baby Driver. It is an incredibly fun and energetic experience that the whole audience seemed to enjoy. It’s rhythmic, it’s stylish, and it’s not like any other film you’ll see this year. Baby Driver is simply the epitome of cool, and if you’re looking for a fun and frisky ride in theaters this summer, Baby Driver is sure to be the ticket.
5 Minute Movie Guy
*** Reviewer’s Note: After adding half-stars to my review scores, I changed the final score of Baby Driver from 5 stars to 4.5 stars to better reflect my opinion. ***