If this movie doesn’t win all the awards and acclaim that it absolutely deserves, then I don’t want to live on this fucking planet anymore. If Edgar Wright’s latest masterpiece isn’t a critical and financial hit, then I don’t want to be here with the rest of you living in a world where movies like this get overlooked for pieces of shit like Transformers Five: The Last of the Fucks Given. Baby Driver is an absolute work of art. It’s cinematic poetry in motion featuring an astounding cast and director that elevates what could have been a simple and stale premise with Wright’s signature style and substance simultaneously making it enjoyable and accessible to the most mainstream of mainstream. As a musician myself (a terrible one, mind you), it’s mind-blowing the way Wright and his team seamlessly mixed the soundtrack with dialogue, stunts, choreography, visual gags, and editing. The end result is this ingenious hybrid of music video and high-octane car chase movie that just works in every conceivable way possible. We literally hear and experience the soundtrack as our character does. When our titular hero, Baby, takes his right ear bud out, we only hear music from the left side of mix. When he rewinds or pauses his music to speak, we experience that pause in real time too. The soundtrack is not some underlying thing playing with our subconscious and alerting us to oncoming dangers, the soundtrack is a part of our lead character. We feel what he’s feeling through the tracks he listens to, and almost all of his movements, both in and out of the car chase sequences, are in rhythm and time with the music.
“Baby Driver is an absolute work of art. It’s cinematic poetry in motion featuring an astounding cast and director…”
I’m going to divert away from spoiler territory here; all you need to know is that Baby (played by Ansel Elgort) is a fast getaway driver. He’s the best there is at what he does, but his hearts just not into the criminal aspects of being a criminal. Elgort plays Baby with this calm demeanor and antisocial behavior. He’s not a cringe worthy nerd kid, he’s an Elvis Presley archetype in look and attitude, literally too cool to deal with anyone’s bullshit. The only time he lets his guard down is around Debora (played by actress Lily James), a waitress he takes a liking to thanks to her spunky personality and beautiful singing voice. Kevin Spacey plays Doc, a crime boss who employs Baby. There’s a nice, twisted mentor-mentored relationship between the two characters that pays off well during the film’s climax. Spacey’s dialogue is the sharpest out of all the characters in the film, and he’s definitely a highlight. The rest of the main cast comes down to Buddy, Darling, and Bats (played by amazing Jon Hamm, the stunning Eiza González, and Jamie Foxx, respectively) the hired crew tasked with executing Doc’s master plans. Hamm and González are wonderful as an overtly horny, public affection displaying couple and each time they’re on screen together they tend to steal the show, but Jamie Foxx basically plays the same character he played in Horrible Bosses. Foxx’s Bats is the least interesting character of the film; when he tries to be tough it comes off as forced and specious. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of his work, and I don’t think this performance will be the one to change anybody’s mind. He feels like he’s in a completely different movie, and everyone he shares the screen with acts circles around him.
“The music syncs up perfectly with so many of the actions and nuances that we see on screen…”
I’ve never seen anything like this before. Edgar Wright and his genius cast and crew have created something that feels so fresh, and so fucking entertaining that I sincerely hope it shakes Hollywood out of its apathy and directs attention towards films that have true heart, not just some popcorn junk Michael Bay explosion fest fodder. It’s hard to nail in writing what makes this film so special, but an example would be a particular scene involving Jamie Foxx’s character breaks a window to a car he’s breaking into and the crash of the glass is in time with the crash of a symbol right along the soundtrack. The music syncs up perfectly with so many of the actions and nuances that we see on screen that it’ll be legitimately impossible to catch everything upon your first viewing. Watch it a second time and keep your eyes peeled. The stunts in this film are mind-blowing, and in my opinion far more impressive than anything I saw in Fate of the Furious. The stunts feel real enough to feel grounded, but just silly and over the top enough to scratch that adrenaline junky itch we need scratched when we go to see action/car chase movies. I cannot recommend this film enough, and hear me loud and crystal clear when I say this: we, as the flailing human race, need more films like this. We need more films that give us the junk that we want in new and exciting ways that push the boundaries of art. We need filmmakers like Edgar Wright who have unique visions and aspirations above gratuitous explosions and embarrassingly outdated racial robot humor. We need movies that serve as experiences, not just a two and a half hour brain nap. Baby Driver is a frenetic, funky, fast and manic fun time at the movies you won’t want to miss this summer. Go fucking see it, now.
Baby Driver (2017) Written and Directed by Edgar Wright. Starring: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Eiza González, Jon Bernthal, Jamie Foxx
9 out of 10