So I haven’t really done this sort of thing for a movie that isn’t brand new yet. But a combination of not having too much else of note from the day and thoroughly enjoying this flick has led me to the conclusion that, yeah, I could stand to talk about some more filmography around here.
When Baby Driver first came out, all I heard was praise for it across the board. Yet I was never really interested in seeing the movie just off the trailers alone, so I passed it up.
Now that I’ve seen the movie, it has occurred to me that perhaps that was a mistake.
Despite it being about a year old now I don’t necessarily feel obliged to spoil the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. After all I hadn’t seen it until now and feel spoilers may have still… Well, spoiled the experience. So I’ll try to be sparing with my plot details.
That said, for the context you’ll need, Baby Driver is the story of a kid named Baby who got himself into trouble with a crime boss and is forced to serve as the getaway driver for a number of robberies to repay his debt.
Just based on that description alone you must imagine the movie has a cliché premise. To be fair, it kind of does, right down to the way it winds up tackling the ‘innocence to hardened edge’ and ‘love over all else’ story arcs.
But even if the premise was clichéd, that doesn’t take away from how brilliantly it’s presented and handled by Edgar Wright and everyone else involved in the production.
Ansel Elgort, as Baby, makes for a lead that truly pops in every sense of the word.
His interactions with just about every other character in the movie offer him the chance to display a range of emotions. He goes from being a fun-loving, dancing fool with his deaf guardian to a silent, demure and downright prodigal criminal assistant to, as I mentioned before, a hardened badass. Yet, he never loses the good-natured core you see all throughout the movie.
He’s a truly lovable character to root for in spite of the concessions that tend to come alongside a criminal child prodigy story.
Though I would also be lying to say that his prodigal driving, a somewhat clichéd idea on paper if you replace that talent with basically anything else in an action movie setting, isn’t wildly entertaining.
In fact, every action scene in the film is thoroughly engaging. The driving stunts are insanely well choreographed and feel as distinct as the character himself.
Part of this comes from the way music is integrated into the movie. Only my sister knew this coming in, but most of the movie is actually paced alongside the soundtrack. The driving scenes and most of the on-foot action, both actually action-packed and mundane (things like laying out money in stacks), all follow the beat of whatever piece is playing over it.
The effect is well-done when imagining the scale of the job it took to capture scenes with very specific motions and tempos. However, it’s even better when seeing just how well that musical overlay is intertwined with Baby’s character on top of the scene direction.
There are lots of moments where the film makes it obvious that the music playing out is being listened to by Baby in real-time, which ties the character’s thoughts and actions directly into what you can see him doing on-screen.
Perhaps that’s hard to explain through text, but I’ll just say it helps to bolster the already strong engagement I had with the protagonist by seeing the movie around him play beautifully to his character.
The musical overlay representing real-time listening also opens itself up to other neat tricks.
Similar to John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” from earlier this year, the film uses its sound design to represent a main character’s disability in key moments. Baby’s tinnitus, which he tries to hide with the music he so often listens to, becomes the film’s sole soundtrack at a point where he can no longer listen to music.
Frankly it’s a brilliant moment that requires no explanation in the film itself because of how much they develop his character naturally leading up to it. It’s the kind of thing that happens and allows the audience to go ‘oh hey, I see what they did there!’
Sound design is the thing to talk about when talking Baby Driver, in my opinion. The action scenes are also great, but mostly because of how the audio plays into them.
However, there are other great qualities to talk about from the film. The characters are all well-acted, and the ultimate antagonist of the film isn’t quite as predictable as one might expect walking in (which is, thankfully, a nice surprise).
It’s also a very pretty movie, using lots of fancy swipe cuts to transition scenes and similar effects that create a cinematic style that stands out in its own right.
While I could go into more, I feel it would only be right to say that you should go see the movie yourself if you haven’t already. I had not been interested prior, like I said, but all of the wonderful things you’ve probably heard everyone say about Baby Driver is definitely true.
It’s worth a view, or even a few. It feels like the kind of movie that could be watched over-and-over if caught on cable in the middle of the night.
Trust me, for my family that’s probably the highest form of compliment that can be bestowed on a film.