Baby Driver – Movie Review

Normally after I see a movie that I plan on writing a review for, I sit on it for a day, just to let it marinate in my brain, to decide how I feel about it past any initial, knee-jerk reactions that I may have, to let my mind think back through the movie and remember all the scenes, good and bad.  Not this time.  I walked out of my local theater less than an hour ago and I sat down to write this as soon as I got home because I don’t need twenty-three more hours to decide how I feel about Baby Driver, I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to see it again.

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Baby Driver follows Baby, a getaway driver who has tinnitus as a result of a car wreck when he was a boy so he almost constantly listens to music to drown out the ringing in his ears. Later on, at the diner he frequents, he falls for a waitress he meets there and, as he tries to leave his life of crime, he finds himself and his new love on the run from his former partners.

The above paragraph probably sounds at least vaguely similar to a handful of other movies, so you may be wondering what makes this movie special, what makes it pop, what separates it from the herd? Answer – Everything about it.  Seriously.  The cast, the action, the story, the characters, the music.  This is one of the best all around films I have seen in a while.  It may be trite or cliche to say but this movie does have it all – drama, comedy, romance, action, suspense.

The cast and the characters that they bring to life are all astounding.  Ansel Elgort, Baby, effortlessly makes you feel for him at every turn. As you find out about his past, you can see the emotion on his face and really connect with it. When he’s in danger, you actually are afraid for him and with the way this movie plays out (no spoilers) you never know what is about to happen. Elgort is a great actor that I haven’t run across before but I will definitely be watching for him in future movies.

Jon Hamm is back in a big way too.  The few things I’ve seen him in since Mad Men have all seemed beneath him in some way, not that those projects or roles were subpar, just that Hamm can bring so much to a character that he can dig into and sink into.  I can’t think of another actor that could bring the gravitas and weight to this role that he does here. Kevin Spacey is great as the leader of the heist crews, as he imbues the character with a soft menace, making him come off as someone that you wouldn’t think twice about cutting in front of in line at Starbucks but getting one look from him would tell you to get to the end of the line. Eiza Gonzalez and Jon Bernthal are also both great here, my only complaint about both of them, is that I think they both could have had more screen time and a bit more to do, but that’s on the writer, not them.

Lily James is also a joy to watch and her chemistry with Elgort is palpable. She brings an innocence to this movie that serves as a great foil for the hardened criminals we see Baby deal with so much. Conveying the feeling that two characters are truly in love enough to risk their lives for each other is something can be hard to make believable and not come off as cheesy.

One of the real standouts though is Jamie Foxx.  His character is an absolute wildcard and creates some amazing tension just because you have no idea what he is going to do and have already seen what he is capable of. I never really felt comfortable when Foxx’s character was an screen and that is something rare, especially from someone who is generally as lovable like Foxx is.

From the trailers, we knew we were in for some really cool car chases and some great action set pieces and Baby Driver definitely delivers on that promise.  The car chases are thrilling and beautifully crafted and are never over the top or get to the point where you have trouble suspending your sense of disbelief like some other car-centric movies I can think of (looking at you Fast & Furious franchise).  And while this film has plenty of action and car chases, it never relies on that to prop up weaker aspects of the overall film.  The action, the car chases, the heists, the smaller character moments, the love story, are all perfectly paced and effortlessly woven together.  For 115 minutes, I never thought about checking my watch or phone to see what time it was or figure out how much movie was left.

Lets talk about the music in this movie because honestly, the music isn’t so much of a thing used to help enhance a scene, the music is so on point, so well crafted, and enhances, not just scenes, but the whole movie so much that the soundtrack could be considered a character in the movie. I don’t believe that there is a misplaced song in the entire run time of Baby Driver. The music chosen always seems poignant to what is going on and the choice to time gunshots and action scenes to the soundtrack really elevates the movie.  The music is meant to stand out and, not run over top of, but run right along side the movie.  Music often seems to blend into the background and be something you hear but not notice and that’s not the case here.  Baby Driver’s soundtrack is noticeable in all the best ways.

Baby Driver did exactly what I want a movie to do – make me forget I’m watching a movie. Pull me out of the real world for two hours and grant me that escapism that I look to movies for. Make me forget that I have a half-eaten box of Sour Patch Kids in my hand and a half-drunk cherry ICEE in my cup holder. I honestly can’t recommend this movie enough so please, please go see it.  We need more original movies like this in our theaters so skip Transformers: Won’t Be The Last Knight and Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp’s Paycheck and go see an amazing, original film that is absolutely worthy of your dollars.

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Until next time, Thank You for reading and…

SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!

 

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