Baby Driver is a complicated movie to review. First of all, let me say, I really enjoyed it start to finish. It felt fresh, the performances were great, and the driving sequences were awesome. I find it complicated because not one thing that happened in the movie surprised me. There wasn’t one twist, one character turn, one motivation, or one general plot point that you haven’t seen executed in 30 other movies. The way it was shot or executed felt new at times but the plot was familiar and in a movie that felt so fresh it was weird that from a story stand point it was made of old recycled goods.
Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a getaway driver for Kevin Spacey who is the ringleader of various heist crews in Atlanta. Baby was in an accident as a child and needs to have headphones in at pretty much all times to drown out the constant hum in his ears. Every trailer hyped the music in the movie but there isn’t one single sequence that uses the music where you walk out remembering it. Guardians of the Galaxy used the same sort of narrative crutch with music and a mother in a far more memorable way in the last few years. What surprised me about the lack of memorable music moments is that Edgar Wright directed Shaun of the Dead which has the hilarious and perfect music cue when the jukebox plays Queen ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ as they fight zombies. I remember that moment and the song. I can’t tell you one song moment in Baby Driver other than the ‘Tequila’ joke moment from every trailer with Jamie Foxx.
Rounding out the cast is Jon Hamm who just needs to be in more things, any things, and all things that put him on a screen and let him be funny or menacing which he is both in this movie. Kevin Spacey took a short break from House of Cards to bring his gravitas to a small but important role. Jamie Foxxwas pretty great as the essential heel of the movie who was just in scenes to cause chaos and be a giant dick which was nice to see. Eiza Gonzalez plays Jon Hamm’s character’s girlfriend and was not just eye candy, she was given a few moments to shine and has a great scene while planning a heist. Finally, Lily James plays Debora who Baby meets at a diner and falls in love with. Their romance is very quick but the chemistry, innocence, and charm that Lily James brought to these scenes sold me 100% on her character and their attraction. If she wasn’t so damn good it would’ve been eye rolling time.
The movie hums along at a quick pace and never felt slow to me. I was never bored or checked my phone. In a summer where the sequels and franchises haven’t quite delivered it is very nice to have a movie like this to break up the blockbuster release schedule, even though as I said nothing about this story was unique. I think my love for Edgar Wright and the way all his previous films have turned the genre on its head or presented it in such a visionary manner caused me to be surprised that this felt so by the book. It had his visual style and flare, it had some unique moments and perspectives, and it had some great character work. But in the end I walked out of it just saying that was a real good movie not a great one. Maybe this movie is a victim to my personal expectations for it, probably is, but I can’t help but feel something was lacking.
In the end this is a really solid movie. It is a movie I think you can take anyone to and they’ll enjoy it. Plus paying for it and helping it make money means more directors will get to make movies like this which are a welcomed break from your typical summer fare( think The Nice Guys from last year). I’d give it a solid B+ and wouldn’t judge anyone who loved it, I think the fact I am not praising it at the level every other reviewer alive seems to be doing so is because of my expectations for the writer/director. It has taught me one thing though! I better start lowering my expectations for Logan Lucky considering I am as high on that movie as I was on Baby Driver. I liked Baby Driver, but I don’t think I’ll remember anything about it a year from now.
Former husky model, real-life Comic Book Guy, genre-bending screenwriter, nude filmmaker, hairy podcaster, pro-wrestling idiot-savant, who has a penchant for solving Rubik's Cubes and rolling candy cigarettes on unreleased bootlegs of Frank Zappa records.