BABY DRIVER [Review]: Vehicular Synchronization.
You know that feeling you get when you are playing music in your car and your windshield wipers end up being synched to the beat of the music? Imagine that sensation, but drawn out for an hour and fifty-three minutes and you will know what it’s like to experience the joyful exhilaration of Edgar Wright’s newest film Baby Driver.
Baby Driver follows the adventures of a Baby (Ansel Elgort), a young getaway driver who has a penchant for listening to tunes on his iPod while driving. He has tinnitus and it’s the only way he can block out the symptoms–which is a real technique known as “masking”. Baby works for criminal master mind known only as Doc (Kevin Spacey) who utilizes Baby’s extraordinary driving skills to pull off various heists with his rag-tag band of criminals. Unfortunately, people tend to get hurt or even die during these crime sprees, and Baby is looking for a way out of that lifestyle.
While this movie is a heist film in the same vein as The Italian Job (1969), it is also transformed into a musical at times due to the incredibly clever use of the songs during the car chase scenes. There is an eclectic array of songs in the soundtrack of this film with everything from Queen to Run the Jewels accompanying the action. Edgar Wright is the god of editing and this film is his best work yet. The way the car crashes, explosions, and gunshots synch up to the music is immensely satisfying. There are a few fantastic tracking shots where Baby is just walking around the city which are set to music as well and background noises, incidental people, and even bits of dialogue are incorporated into the song. Quite frankly, it’s amazing how much attention to detail there is. I don’t think I will be able to watch car chase scenes in the same way again.
Ansel Elgort is so endearing and charismatic in this role and he carries the entire film with his performance. A concept this goofy could come off as contrived, but Elgort dances his way into the hearts of everyone who watches him. Something else I think that Edgar Wright does well is tone shifting. Baby Driver starts out fun and light-hearted but gradually evolves into something much darker and grittier. Wright handles the shift with a deft hand though, and there is no abrupt line of delineation between the light and dark parts of the narrative. There are jokes throughout the entire film so it never gets too serious.
I really liked that they let Baby’s mysterious past take a back seat to the action in this film but there are enough elements that add to his character without dumping exposition on the audience. The romance between Baby and a young waitress named Deborah (lily James) does move a little fast but in the context of the film speed is of the essence. John Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, and Eiza González put in fun performances as the crooks in Doc’s crime organization and they all have interesting character quirks. Jamie Foxx especially is great as the sociopathic criminal Bats and he frequently steals whatever scene he is in. This is an ensemble cast that is firing on all cylinders.
What it all boils down to is that Baby Driver is just an ‘effing fun ass film. There is so much love and heart put into this film that it oozes from every pore. Do yourself a favor and catch this on the big screen so you can get the ultimate experience! 5/5 Bibles.