T: Gosh, where do I begin? First and foremost, RV and I (on a whim) decided to go see this movie. Neither of us knew anything about it, and my own limited understanding of the film centered primarily on the rave reviews that kept popping up in my Twitter feed. We hadn’t seen the trailer for this film and knew nothing of the plot. We knew only that it was an Edgar Wright film, was currently standing at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and featured Jon Hamm. I mean, that’s all you really need to know, right?
Having said that, this film is amazing. It is difficult to find films today that feel totally inventive and creative and innovative – especially during the summer when most of what is showing is merely recycled trash (I’m looking at you Transformers: The Last Knight). But this is the movie our tired souls have been looking for: fresh and fast-paced and totally different.
In true Edgar Wright fashion, the writing of this film is witty and clever and the dialogue (laced with some of the funniest lines ever) move organically through characters who somehow are protected from feeling cartoonish or cliche’. Also, it possess a dark comedic flair – interwoven between some seriously grisly violence – that makes me want to rewatch all of Wright’s previous films.
I would not identify myself as someone who loves action movies or movies featuring cars (I have never watched a single Fast & Furious movie). I also hate NASCAR. But it was the driving in this film that left me on the edge of my seat. I was literally squeezing RV’s hand throughout every one of the chase scenes in this movie and it took several hours after leaving the movie-theater for the adrenaline to wear down. This is a result of Edgar Wright’s superb directing that somehow stylistically perfected each and every move of the car to align to the song blasting in Baby’s (and the audience’s) ear drums. I kind of can’t believe I’m saying this, but the car chasing sequences were actually kind of beautiful…ugh, the indie-movie lover inside me just winced.
But above all, it is the music that defines this movie. I mean, yes Jon Hamm is perfection and Ansel Elgort is adorable and Kevin Spacey is creepily wonderful and Jamie Foxx is utterly captivating, but the music – ahh – it allows the film to transcend into something beyond brilliant. It’s like a modern day musical, but instead of a hidden orchestra beneath the stage, we’re supported by our Ipod shuffles. But with that said, each and every scene was staged perfectly and allowed for familiar songs to take on a whole new meaning. (Previously, The Champs’ Tequila Song was synonymous with Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure – now it is synonymous with one of the most bad-ass mobster takedowns ever)
This is a movie for those of us that design soundtracks for the everyday moments of our lives. The songs we habitually listen to (and ultimately depend on) whilst running, showering, driving, mindlessly avoiding any/all adult responsibilities – or in Baby’s case – trying to avoid the cops or a grieving lovers’ murderous rage. This movie is for us.
And thank you Edgar Wright for showing us all the new musical additions we didn’t know we needed (though we’re not sure how we ever lived without) for our playlists.
RV: What’s funny about Baby Driver is that I have yet to hear a genuinely negative review by fan or critic, yet if you measure this film by the normal standards of storytelling, then you’ll see it is by no means perfect. Since the film has hardly any dialogue, character development is subtle and at times lacking. There are in fact several actions by characters that the plot hinges on, but the narrative set up isn’t really there. Instead, the audience is left to fill in the gap with their own imagination. For example, Kevin Spacey’s character makes a grand gesture at the end of the movie; however, there was nothing in his previous actions or dialogue that set up this big climatic reveal, which made the whole sequence feel too freaking convenient. Now, I point this particular narrative flaw out because when you watch the movie, you won’t care about it at all. This movie is so unique and fresh right from the beginning that you’ll accept every narrative convenience Edgar Wright throws your way because there is never a moment when sound and the cinematography take a back seat to exposition. As all the beautiful sounds and driving sequences are thrown at you at a rapid pace, you will never stop and wish that they would delve more into this tragic hero’s past. You’ll just want more and more of the beautiful fusion of sound and action. Too often now, movies are only made from already selling books or comics, and therefore too much time is spent on adapting instead of creating a unique movie experience. Trust me when I say this is a unique experience. When you go see this movie, you won’t even realize your at the movies; instead, your complete attention will be held hostage for an hour and half by what you will later realize was a beautiful post-modern ballet disguised as a heist film.
5 Twizzlers: Nobody should put Baby Driver in a corner. It’s so damn good.
5 Red Vines: There’s nothing bumpy about this ride.