I’m going to preface this review by saying that if you only watch one movie this year, make it Baby Driver. Edgar Wright knocked this one out of the park. The chase/escape scenes feel Mad Max-meets-urban center and that’s because Wright asked legendary director George Miller for advice on capturing that stunning aesthetic. Incredible.
Of course, if you’re a fan of Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, you are already aware of Edgar Wright’s directorial style – stylized, serious, but not lacking in humorous moments. He has a distinct ‘comic’ feel without cheapening the experience. This is his first movie that will really ‘appeal’ to the masses, because come on, who doesn’t like car chases?
Baby Driver has a relatively tried-and-true plot for any ‘heist’ style movie. There’s an incredibly talented driver (Baby/Ansel Elgort) whose super power is his ability to curate the perfect playlist to escape any situation, the kingpin criminal (Doc/Kevin Spacey) who is making Baby drive for him until a debt is paid off, and a rotating cast of career criminals who are called on to bring in revenue for the syndicate. Baby is close to paying off his debts when he finds his one true love in life, but of course leaving the game is not an option and he finds himself on the edge of completing one last job to get the girl and away from it all.
This is a movie that has it all – great practical effects, a simple but tight story, and solid acting. The greatest asset of Baby Driver is the soundtrack. I’ve been deep into the esoteric and funky playlists over the past few years, and I absolutely loved hearing some of the tracks Baby queued up for his getaways. There’s a lot of throwback to some soulful vinyl cuts from the 60s and 70s as well as more well known tracks, but the choreography of the music to the chase scenes was probably one of the coolest aspects of the film. The opening chase scene, set to ‘Bellbottoms’ by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion absolutely sets the tone for the film, and was the entire scene that Wright built the movie around, meticulously planning each shot to match the music, note for note, frame for frame.
This movie is a testament to Edgar Wright’s love of cinema and music. I think we should be happy he left the Ant Man project in 2015 and spent that time developing what hopefully is the beginning of more fantastic films to come.
On a more personal note, parts of the movie hit close to home – the new found love, making big plans, and wanting to do anything to keep that fire alive. I’m a long-term goal, big-picture kind of guy, so I really like to dream up big plans. I have trouble with the day-to-day and find the ‘little’ things boring. I have spent more time discovering new music and finding ways to pass the time when I get lost in negative thoughts, and it was really awesome to see how (to a certain extreme) the protagonist did the same to drown out a traumatic past but build a beautiful future. Baby Driver is a non-stop thriller that will be sitting on my shelf next to the Mad Max films.
Bonus mode: I totally peeled out of the parking lot after watching the movie. That’s how much fun it was! SHINY AND CHROME!
Platinum Squid Rating
A thrilling criminal musical chase!