Baby Driver (2017) Movie Review: An Exhilarating Action-Musical

By: Reel 127 (A Toast) –

For those of you who haven’t seen an Edgar Wright film I’m going to go ahead and assume you have been living under a rock. But if you don’t know, he is a fantastic comedy director who is increasingly becoming mainstream in film, known for such films as Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. His latest project, Baby Driver is no exception in the director’s glowing track record.

The lack of British actors in this movie is a bit off-putting though.

Baby Driver is the story of Baby, a young getaway driver who wants to leave his life of crime behind. As a child, Baby was in an accident that caused him to get tinnitus. Now, to drown out the constant ringing in his ears he listens to music. The film very much uses this to its advantage when creating the soundtrack, helping to capture the perspective of Baby for the audience.

A Toast

The most notable thing about Baby Driver becomes apparent in the very first scene. It’s synchronization. So much of the movie works with the music it plays. Since the main character listens to music all the time we are really hearing and seeing the world in his perspective. But the coordination reaches an impressive level. Sure, in an action scene quick cuts can be used to cue up with beats in the song. However, even in slow moments it continues. There is a dinner scene towards the middle where Baby and Debora’s movements overtly sync up with points in the slower song playing.

Baby Driver avoids the pitfalls of song selection for movies. I feel as though there have been too many times I see a movie where a song is playing but it serves no purpose. It may be a cool song that people will know, but it does nothing to strength the scene it is used for. Baby Driver is so selective in its song choices that I found myself paying attention to song lyrics. Wright uses songs that not only blend with the scene to create the mood, but even having the lyrics, more than once, directly reference what is happening in the scene.

Any film that can successfully use Queen and the Beach Boys deserves an award.

Ansel Elgort gave a fantastic performance as Baby. He gave life to a mostly silent character through his body language and reactions. After seeing him in this movie I am very much looking forward to what else Elgort is capable of. Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, and Lily James as well all gave stellar performances. The cast was selected and directed masterfully, as all are able to do a good balance of comedy in addition to serious action. A trademark of Edgar Wright films.

Verdict

Is this movie flawless? Absolutely not. Jaime Foxx never felt very threatening like his character was meant to be, and more than once the film falls into terrible-action-editing-syndrome with lots of quick cuts that makes it impossible to follow. But with everything that is done so well for Baby Driver it is more than worth overlooking its flaws. This is definitely one of the better summer movies and worth the time and cost to see in theaters.

When the weakest part of your movie is Jaime Foxx,
you probably made a damn fine movie.

Baby Driver (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time a new song starts.

Take a Drink: every time car tires are screeching.

Take a Drink: for every pop culture reference.

Take a Drink: every time the tinnitus ringing can be heard.

Take a Drink: every time someone dies.

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