Over the past few days, I've been trying to conjure up a synopsis for Baby Driver that not only gathers up its plot, but does so in a way that doesn't overshadow its (glorious) minute details.
Purely in that regard, I failed.
Thinking about this film had me pulling at my hair, because for all intents and purposes, Baby Driver shouldn't be any different from any other summer popcorn flick. And by any director not named Edgar Wright, it very well might've been.
Baby Driver stars Baby ("B-A-B-Y, Baby," as he says), a music-loving kid who also happens to be an expert getaway driver. As Kevin Spacey's character puts it, he's got a "hum in the drum" in which he uses music to drown out the excess noise. Without giving away too much, Baby—unsurprisingly—ends up in deeper water than he can ever imagine, in a world that he isn't necessarily meant for.
Immediately from the opening scene, you get a sense of exactly the style and tone that Wright is going for—and those familiar with his previous films, namely 2010's Scott Pilgrim VS The World, will feel right at home. The movie does a terrific job of making sure viewers feel like they're either right there in the car with Baby, or behind his shades. As the driving stunts hit the screen, you often see a quick cut to a gritting, yet confident wheelman next to a passenger that has their stomach slowly rising up to their chest.
Let's talk about the driving.
While it's definitely a cornerstone of Baby's character, it isn't the entirety of the movie. Imagine someone combining the best elements of Ocean's 11, The Italian Job, Drive and [insert anything by Edgar Wright here], and slapping a killer soundtrack on top. If there's an ingredients list to be made, it'd consist of quippy dialogue, fast-paced action, and beats that are never missed.
Given all of that, what makes this different from any of the aforementioned movies? If ever there were a movie that embodied the idea of it's not the destination, it's the journey—it's Baby Driver. The reason that it resonated so highly with me, personally, is the character Baby. He doesn't talk much, and has a playlist (or rather, iPod) for every conceivable mood or moment. Whether it's the sweet, sweet voice of Barry White or guitar shredding of Queen, you almost feel like there could've been zero dialogue at all—and yet the lyrics would've held it right up.
Aside from Baby, there's also one heck of a supporting cast. If you were among those who worried that Kevin Spacey would provide little more than a cameo, then worry not. Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx all put in their dues, and have character development through the roof. The on-screen chemistry between Lily James's character and Baby was terrific, and one could make an argument that the non-car scenes were just as compelling as all of the driving.
tldr; should you see it? Yes—twice.
With all of the praise that the movie deserves, I will point out a minor gripe I had. The whole thing almost felt like a daydream in the way that while it's still rooted in reality, it felt whimsical and free-flowing. A part of the ending act felt like an abrupt wake up call, and broke off the beaten path that the rest of the film had carved out.
I vividly remember walking out of the theater with a strange feeling. I had fun, and smiled more times in a 2 hour span than I had in a long time. With seemingly every other movie having their sights set on building the next cinematic universe—I'm looking at you, Kong: Skull Island—it was really refreshing to see a small-scale story pack a huge punch with no strings attached.
The next time someone asks you if you're in a pink and glittery mood, you'll know what to say.
1-2: Horrendous, wouldn’t recommend watching even if free of charge.
3-4: Potentially has some good ideas, but overall still lackluster.
5-6: Average, a decently good time; go see it if it's free.
7-8: A solid recommendation, and well-rounded film; warrants a purchase after home release.
9: No glaring flaws; deserves to be watched multiple times.
10: Masterful, must-see; filmmaking at its finest.