I don’t know about you, but that Rolling Stone quote “Baby Driver is beyond F***ing awesome” was not what made me wanna see this. If anything, it was a red flag. However, the romance between Baby and Debbie seemed cute, and the car scenes seemed beyond what we recently saw from The Fate of The Furious. So with that in mind, I had my fingers crossed this would be a less testosterone pumped action movie than what we usually get when cars are a focus.
To a point, I wasn’t disappointed.
For nearly 10 years, Baby, real names Miles (Ansel Elgort) has been driving around Atlanta for Doc (Kevin Spacey). It is all to repay a debt from back when Baby was real carjacking happy but took the wrong man’s car. Since then, he has found himself working with one crew after another of Doc’s as they rob various banks and entities throughout the city.
However, when we meet Baby, his debt is almost paid. Something which seemingly couldn’t have better timing. For with him still getting a cut after every job and him meeting Debora [note]Also referred to as Debbie[/note] (Lily James), it seems like he may drive off into the sunset. That is, until Doc reveals that why Baby maybe straight, that doesn’t mean he is free.
Leaving us with Baby trying to figure out a way to attain his dreams of freedom without a bullet in his, Debora, or his foster dad Joseph (CJ Jones) catching a bullet.
Car Chase Scenes
Though it is never revealed why Baby is into cars, much less with his parents dead, who taught him to drive, apparently whoever did know what they were doing. For the way he moves his car, like you see in the trailer, was truly jaw dropping. Especially because it wasn’t a Fate of The Furious type of thing where it all seemed like everything was in some exotic location where their huge budget could shut everything down. Things seemed tight and precise. As if it’s $40 Million budget was used to the fullest without the extra frills and waste we are used to seeing.
Baby’s Final Battle
One of the key examples maybe Baby’s final battle. Something caused during his first real attempt at getting from under Doc’s thumb. In this, you get the rare final battle that doesn’t seem like it lessens the villain in the process. It doesn’t make the person trying to kill Baby look weak or even stupid, to a point. Just simply unlucky.
Why Wasn’t Debbie Arrested?
Towards the end of the movie, it is hard to imagine why Debbie didn’t end up locked up purely by association. Baby clearly spends a lot of time with her and there is a point where she is driving a getaway vehicle. Yet, for some reason, she never touches a jail cell or gets her wrist put in handcuffs. For some reason, she is never seen as some sort of Bonnie to his Clyde, despite them carjacking someone together. She is allowed to be innocent and the cops overlook her completely.
On The Fence
Who Is Deborah?
While Deborah doesn’t qualify for the manic pixie dream girl trope, at least if she did that would mean she was interesting. Unfortunately, for Baby Driver, it’s female lead is just a cute girl who is smitten. As for her dreams, maybe they deal with becoming a singer. But that is about it. Like many a woman before her in a movie like this, James’ role is purely to show the lead is attractive and heterosexual. Nothing more.
You Waited 5 Years and Spent How Much?
Following up on that, Baby goes away for a long time and Deborah somehow not only gets his money but is able to spend it. Which, again, leads me to question how was she not arrested? You have been clearly seen with this very renowned bank robber and yet the FBI or no other agency is wondering how you spent 5 years traveling and paying for things while paying no type of income tax? And it isn’t like she is getting some clear type of guidance here to avoid getting on someone’s radar. So while not truly a big deal in the grand scheme of things, detail-wise that rose an eyebrow.
Who Is Doc?
The movie makes a strong effort to make sure everyone uses nicknames and keeps their true selves unidentified[note]Real Names: Baby = Miles | Buddy = Jason (Jon Hamm) | Darling = Monica (Eiza Gonzalez) | Bats = Leon (Jamie Foxx)[/note]. However, over the course of the 2-3 jobs we see, we learn about everyone. Some more than others. Baby is a kid whose mom and dad died in a car accident. His mom was a singer and waitress [note]At the diner Deborah works at[/note] and dad? Well, who knows.
Buddy, in Bats’ mind, was a stock broker who made too many bad deals, got into too much debt, and Darling was a dancer he picked up along the way. As for Bats himself? He is just a criminal. Plain and simple. But as for the mastermind Doc? The sole thing we learn is that he was in love once, is in bed with powerful people, has a nephew, and deals with crooked cops to get his jobs done.
Something which can be a bit frustrating for it makes Doc’s motive and decision to help Baby at the end of the movie make no sense. Granted, he thinks Baby is a good kid, but to lose it all over him? To make it so his anonymity is lost for some 20 year old? It seemed something more convenient for the plot than what you’d expect Doc to do. But with us not getting to know if Doc is a softey or sentimental type, what other alternative opinions can there be?
Can Seem Like It Is Trying Too Hard To Seem Cool & Succeeds at That Inconsistently
The goal of any film, to me, is to try to make something which lasts. A film which has longevity and isn’t just a one-time viewing experience. However, how does one achieve that? Well, you try to seem cool, unique, and different from the rest. Thus hopefully leading the people, and not just websites and magazines, putting you in their top whatever list.
With Baby Driver, it seems to want to be in your top but something about it makes it seem like it is trying too hard. Be it the way it tries to make the characters funny, how it uses Elgort’s charm or the way it syncs the soundtrack to what is happening. In many ways, you can sort of see writer/ director Edgar Wright took a page out of Quentin Tarintino’s book and studied movies like his and tried to repurpose the best bits. However, while Tarintino can, usually, use what he stole and repurpose it seamlessly, there are some stumbles for Wright.
Be it the comedy which can remind you of Marvel movies. The way the driving is like a budgeted Fast and the Furious movie and attempting to show men who have soft spots but still are very macho. Like Buddy who is shown to be a bit psychotic, yet when it comes to Darling he can turn to mush. Much less Doc who seems like a real gangster, yet he spends time with his nephew and is proud of how much he has learned under him.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
For someone like me who watches an above average amount of movies, while Baby Driver rises to the top, it isn’t the best. Not solely because we learn very little about Baby’s peers, but because the only thing I remember the day after watching this were the car scenes. Everything else has become a blur which, within a week or so, I probably will only have memory fragments of.
Yet, this is being labeled Worth Seeing mostly because, when you are in the theater, you are thoroughly entertained. Like many a mindless action movie, the characters are engaging enough to keep you interested in between the times when the action happens. Plus, while no one in the film steals the show or really makes you await their next movie, they bring what you expect out of them. In a good way.
So while no one elevates this film into a classic, you can see there was an attempt to do so. Which I appreciated. For rather than special effects seemingly being the main focus, it seems the entire production was considered. Thus leading to the what may seem like the rare action movie which has interesting enough characters and a decent enough storyline [note]I recognize the adjectives used aren’t high praise, but for an action movie to have both is rare for my viewing habits.[/note]. Leading to a film that is definitely worth your hard earned dollars. Even if it is only worth seeing once.