Under normal circumstances, I would not be writing a movie review on a music blog. But “Baby Driver” has made itself quite the exception.
“Baby Driver” tells the story of Baby (Ansel Elgort), a young man in his early 20s who works as a getaway driver for a man named Doc (Kevin Spacey). The film follows Baby through his struggle to break free of the world Doc dragged him into, especially once he meets love interest Debora (Lily James).
“Baby Driver” was a surprisingly good movie, possibly even one of my favorite films to date. I went into the theater without much expectations, as I was not sure what to expect: an action car film like the “Fast and Furious” franchise, or a cheesy romance film? From the previews I had seen, both directions seemed plausible. In the end, I got a great mix of both. Director Edgar Wright created a film that balanced these two aspects perfectly, with neither outweighing the other. My favorite part of this film, though, was the ending: it was completely unexpected, and it is up in the air about what actually happened. If you have seen the movie already (or are too curious to wait), click here to read more about it.
Ansel Elgort’s performance as Baby was so well-done, you forget that he is an actor with several big films to his name (i.e. “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Divergent”) and instantly become absorbed in the character of Baby. Baby has heart and soul, and is a highly relatable character right from the opening sequence, jamming and just having fun to a song he clearly loves as it plays through his earbuds while he walks down the streets of Atlanta. Baby comes across as a very innocent, lovable character with a bright mind, whom audiences instantly feel sympathetic for throughout the film. He almost always listens to music, although his motivation goes beyond a love of music: Baby suffers from tinnitis, or ringing in the ears, due to a childhood car crash. One of my favorite part about Baby is his character arc, which is induced in part by the people he works with, and partly from Debora.
Lily James plays the sweet waitress Debora, Baby’s love interest. Her performance was well-played and extremely lovable, and James got to show off a bit of her singing chops with Carla Thomas’ “B-A-B-Y.” Debora is a spunky, fun character who elicits an emotional response from audiences for her to be kept safe from the craziness of Baby’s world.
Kevin Spacey as Doc was intimidating, powerful, and dangerous, with a surprising twist by the end. Fans of “House of Cards” will enjoy Doc just as much as Francis Underwood. Also featured in the film were Jon Hamm as Buddy, who had one of the most flipped character twists in the movie; Eiza Gonzalez as Darling, Buddy’s wife; and Jamie Foxx as Bats, the bloodthirsty and insane crew member. These supporting characters all had major impacts on the storyline that one cannot help but appreciate. (I wish I could say more, but this is a no-spoilers review!)
And now, the reason I am doing a movie review on a music blog: “Baby Driver” is almost as much a music film as it is a love/car movie. The music theme in this film is conveyed entirely through Baby, who as previously mentioned, constantly listens to music to counteract his tinnitis.
The soundtrack for this movie is amazingly diverse. There are hidden gems from various genres, spanning from rock-and-roll to rap to sappy love songs. These songs also span across time, primarily from the 1970s-1990s, with not a single pop hit from any time period–a fact that made the movie diverse musically. Most films today have a signature song that is used to market and plays within the film–such as Wiz Kalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” for “Fast and Furious 7”–and Baby Driver set itself apart by not following suit. The soundtrack includes a minimal amount of tracks by artists that are more commonly known, such the Beach Boys, Beck, and Queen. Also featured on the soundtrack is Simon & Garfunkel’s “Baby Driver.” To read Variety’s interview with Wright on the soundtrack, click here.
What I particularly enjoyed was how crazily in-sync everything was. There is music playing throughout about 98% of the movie, and the timing of the onscreen action to the music is insane. Everything happened to the beat of the music, down to the heists Baby goes on. In one scene, Baby even calls for the crew to wait so he can restart the song to time the heist to his beat. He steals a car and will not drive away until he finds a song he likes and can work to. This technical aspect of syncing the action to music–and the fact that it’s both a part of the movie world and a cinematic aspect–add to the quality and enjoyment of the film.
Overall, I would say that Baby Driver is an exceptional movie that I hope many will go see. It is action-filled, has a sweet romance, and keeps viewers on the edge with its story. I would 100% recommend this movie as your weekend film!
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