Baby Driver, as I mention in the podcast, is my number 2 film of 2017, maybe even ever. I’ll have to remake that list after this year. I don’t know what film can top this one this year but I don’t want to give it number 1 just yet, I’d hate to see it move down my list.
From start to finish it is a combination of character and musical spectacle. Ansel Elgort quiet performance adds volumes to both his character and his supporting cast, and the little touches Edgar Wright adds to him, like the endless supply of sunglasses and iPods, souvenirs of his time boosting cars and joyriding.
This film is a labour of love for Edgar Wright and it shows with all the little details like that one. The little references to Wright’s past work like the Shaun of the Dead tracking shot that makes a happy return in this film. But even when Wright does a call back he has some fun with it, he makes the whole scene around the song Baby is jamming to with the lyrics on the wall and certain moves by Baby play into the song. It took 28 different takes to get perfect and it was worth every single one. It’s such a fun scene and it enamoured me with Baby from start to finish. The opening scene shows you how he uses the songs to escape from reality as well as escape the cops and this scene reveals his character without him saying a word about himself.
Moving onto the supporting cast, Lily James is so charming in this role. She is believable character she charms Baby into loving her and I would argue the audience as well, I wanted her to accomplish her dream and be with Baby at the end. Kev said that the romance felt rushed but I think there was just enough to make you care about each of them and their happiness by the climax and James’ charm adds to this.
Kevin Spacey steals every scene with him in it, his wit, his gravitas and his raw charisma. I was rooting for Doc even though there were several points in the movie that show you or tell you that he’s a bad guy but Kevin Spacey and his performance here is just so damn likeable it’s hard to hate him. Michael Douglas was rumoured to play Doc and while he is also a fantastic talent, Spacey owns this role and is just brilliant.
Jon Bernthal is there for I think the grand total is 5 minutes and I have to say he plays a good ass-hat. For example he picks on Baby for the sake of it and you really dislike and like him because it’s an amusing scene with Griff his character taking the sunglasses off Baby and then Baby replacing them, it was a fun and cute little scene, and his cameo didn’t feel gratuitous.
Jon Hamm and Eiza González as Buddy and Darlin’, they are fantastic. They have good chemistry, Buddy is really likeable, he bonds with Baby as does Darlin’ and they are almost like his parents in their affection towards him, Darlin’ is tender with him while Buddy is as his moniker would suggest, his buddy, the dad that just wants to be his friend. Jon Hamm is just a really likeable guy and that translates onto Buddy extremely well and after I found out the part was written for him I can see why, Edgar Wright wrote him into the movie. Together they are suppose to contrast with and mirror Baby and Debbie, to show what will happen if Baby stays in the life, Debbie will change from charming and innocent to fierce and vicious. Like they are nice people (except for the bank robbery) until you cross them and you see the fire in their eyes.
CJ Jones’ character Joseph is the heart and soul of the movie. He is so endearing and adorable, he just wants the best for Baby and endeavours to see him free of the crime and the dirty money. And he really shines he is so expressive and he immediately wins your heart. Adding so much humanity to Baby, you already like him from the beginning but his relationship with Joe just endears him to you and shows the depth of his character about the things that really matter to him.
And Finally we have Bats played by the charismatic Jamie Foxx. Foxx does an incredible job making you hate him so much by the end of the movie. He’s a homicidal, psychopathic wildcard character, he’s so intimidating and so trigger-happy that it’s very entertaining. It can be both comedic and terrifying. It’s when Bats gets into Baby’s world away from Doc that his true villainous side becomes a real threat. It is a credit to Foxx that he makes you laugh and grip the armrest in the same movie.
I talked about father figures with Buddy and Joe, the friend and the care-giver and then we have Doc who is a father figure but he’s more like that teacher that saw your talent and wanted you to succeed, except you know, he wants him to do crime. You could say he’s Baby’s step father in crime, and because it’s Kevin Spacey you feel conflicted on who decide with between Joe and Doc, one way he’ll be clean and clear and the other he’ll be rich and his legs would be intact.
This movie is like a modern day opera, where the action is framed around the music and the all of the individual elements, from the acting to the action set pieces are tailor made to blend in with the music and the music enhances every single scene rather than just being the cool sounds in the background.
I loved this movie as you may have guessed and it’s a 9/10 simply because of a little thing that happens in the end that seems to be counter to a character’s previous motivations but that’s the highest possible 9/10 it is one of the best movies this year. It is so re-watchable, I could re-watch this movie again and again and with the soundtrack you could close your eyes while listening and watch it in your head. It’s just incredible I cannot recommend this movie enough from the practical effects, to the acting, to the editing, the sound design and so on all of this movies elements just come together to elevate it above just another action heist movie with some popular songs to an incredible spectacle that has something for everyone in my honest opinion.