Baby Driver, by Albert W. Vogt III

Baby Driver (2017) is almost too clever for words. When it came out in the theater, I saw it a couple times. I could not get enough. It is also a musical. If you are familiar with this film, you might be asking yourself: “Baby Driver? A musical?” Director Edgar Wright, my love of whom is well documented (see our reviews of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) and The World’s End (2013)), times pretty much all of the action with a delectable selection of music that will make you tap your feet as the plot unfolds. To put it differently, the action goes beat-for-beat with the melody, with every gun shot and pedal pushed to the floor a note in a song. You also have Kevin Spacey as Doc at his biting, satirical best, just before his unfortunate sexual deviancy derailed his career. There are some other great actors and actresses, and coupled with the direction and style in which the movie is presented makes for an immensely enjoyable cinematic experience, even at home.

Baby Driver focuses on Baby (Ansel Elgort), a truly good young man with a past that landed him on the wrong side of the law. After surviving a car crash that kills his parents, Baby gets caught trying to steal the automobile of the criminal mastermind that is Doc. Instead of killing the boy, Doc makes Baby his driver for the heists he plans. Baby becomes a very skilled getaway driver, but wishes to only do such driving until he has paid the debt placed on him. But before he can hit the road with “a plan he doesn’t have in a car he can’t afford” with Debora (Lily James), Doc essentially forces him into one more job (also implying that there would be more) by threatening all for whom he cares. Seeing no alternative, Baby joins a crew with Bats (Jamie Foxx), Buddy (Jon Hamm), and Darling (Eiza González), a group of much more hard-core criminals than our main character. Bats (as the name might suggest) is bat-you-know-what-crazy, and at several points threatens to kill Baby. In the end, though, Baby turns on his crew, rescues Joseph (CJ Jones), the deaf, wheel-chair bound main who Baby cared for, and almost manages to escape the law with Debora.

As I indicated above, Baby Driver presents this heist story in an extremely clever, and fun, manner. The music is one thing, and if you watch it, really listen to the music and pay attention to the action as it happens. It will delight you. However, it should be noted that Edgar Wright up until this point had been known for directing comedies. While there are some definite funny lines full of his movies’ usual wit, he also handled the action flawlessly. Because he is a relative neophyte action director, I think it was brilliant of him to rely on music in order to pace the more exciting parts of the film. It makes it stand out, too. Also, because of the accident that killed his parents, Baby has tinnitus, and the music he constantly listens to drowns out the ringing in his ear. Yet the movie reminds you of this condition throughout whenever his earphones are not in his ear. Again, listen carefully and you will hear the tone underscoring those moments. The film also works so well with Wright’s directing style of fast cuts that get you from scene-to-scene without having to over-explain what is going on.

Another aspect of Baby Driver I absolutely love is Baby himself. Granted, he is involved in a life of crime. Yet it is apparent that he does not care for the life he is leading and wishes to get out of it, and only does the last job because he felt forced. At every turn, though, he does all he can to mitigate harm to others. If that is not a Christian ideal, I do not know what is. For example, he keeps Bats from murder and kidnapping a baby on their first job together, and returns a purse to an old lady whose car he stole. In the end, though, perhaps Baby’s most Christian act comes when he allows himself to be caught at the end. Clearly he had done wrong and him facing his day in court and doing time amounts to an act of penance. Too often in these heist films the main characters get away with their crimes. Therefore I applaud Baby for his actions.

I cannot recommend Baby Driver enough. The only reason it is not in my top-three is because I love two other Edgar Wright movies even more, and there are only three slots. But it would definitely be number four. There are some more adult situations in it, though there are much worse rated R movies. So if you are looking for a fun, entertaining, and clever film after you have put the kids to bed, look no further than this one.

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