I had been looking forward to this movie since the first preview I saw, which was actually during the previews before a different movie that I saw (I can’t remember which). Considering the amount of YouTube that I watch, the fact that the first preview I saw for this movie was in the theater only months before release is actually impressive. Let’s relive my emotional journey as I watched the Baby Driver preview. First, I was intrigued. The plot looked good and the main character seemed likeable and original. Then, I was scared because this was the first I had heard of the movie. In my experience, movies that are subtly released in theaters are either fantastic or terrible; there is no middle ground. But then I saw Kevin Spacey and was immediately reinterested and excited. It was exhausting. By the time I went to go see the movie, I was very excited. And I must say that I was not disappointed in the least. Baby Driver was fantastic.
Without question, the best part of this movie was the combination of the soundtrack and audio, which is why I am glad that I went to see it in theaters. I am not sure I would have gotten the full effect watching at home. As with the rest of the movie, there were just so many little things done well with the music and audio. This works especially well given the affinity for music (and the reasons for that affinity) that our main character has. To make this even more real, the first thing we hear is an obnoxious ringing before the music starts. The ringing then goes away, and we lose ourselves in the music. This is exactly how Baby lives. But we don’t even know this until nearly 30 minutes into the movie. So, to us, except for the very intuitive, that obnoxious ringing is no more than obnoxious ringing. But once we learn more of Baby, it becomes a point of reference, a way of understanding, and a great immersion tool. Again, this probably works best by watching the movie in a theater, but these sorts of clevereties (although not real, I firmly believe this to be a better word than “cleverness”) occur throughout. When Baby walks into Debora’s diner and both are in a precarious situation, the song “When Something Is Wrong with My Baby” (Sam and Dave) plays. When a man that is presumed dead begins to twitch his fingers, a radio dial can be heard searching through the channels, complete with white noise and false starts to songs. But my favorite is when Baby and Debora go on their date. Baby does not have his headphones in, but the music is still playing and the ringing is gone. In case we missed it (like I did), we are quickly reminded when the ringing comes back as soon as Debora leaves the car. While I have seen complaints that these are too on the nose, and I can certainly see this point of view, I am okay with them. In a movie with so much subtlety, I think a few glaring connections are just fine.
My other two favorite aspects of the film, in no particular order, were the camera work and the characters. I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie with camera work that felt this smooth, even through the action scenes. I have never filmed a movie, but it seems like it would be difficult to keep a steady camera while filming a car chase scene. However, that is exactly what was done in this movie. I never felt lost or disoriented during the entire film. And it felt great. But it doesn’t stop there. Even during the dialogue, the camera work was great. When Buddy, Darling, and Bats were talking, the camera completed a full circle around them twice; there were no cuts. This would not work for a movie like Lost in Translation or even Nightcrawler, but for a movie revolving entirely around cars, music, and movement, it feels right.
As I had hoped from watching the preview, I found Baby to be both likeable and original. The concept of a quirky character being the best get away driver around is not what makes Baby original (looking at you Ryan Gosling). His unique background and unparalleled love and knowledge of music is; this is also what makes him so fun and likeable. He seems so serious during the first heist, then he starts singing along with the music and dancing around in the car, even using his windshield wipers as props despite the sunny day. His life is driven (I said it) by music, and we get to share in that with him. All of this starts while the screen is still black and all we can hear is ringing. Sadly, it is also with the characters where my one major complaint comes in. Kevin Spacey was incredible; he always is. Don’t even get me started on how good Seven is. However, his character in Baby Driver felt inconsistent. At first it seems like he is using Baby. Then he proudly flaunts him in front of Bats. Then Doc threatens to break Baby’s legs and kill those he cares about. And at the end of the movie, he sacrifices himself to save Baby and Debora. He says he did it because he once was in love. That is not good enough for me. I place great importance on character integrity, and Doc just didn’t have consistency throughout the movie. However, this, and few other minor issues, are not enough to dissuade me from saying that Baby Driver is a great movie.
My name is Chuck, and these are my thoughts. Now I would like to know what you think. Did you like the character of Baby? What do you think of the music/audio? How do you feel about the ending? Leave a comment down below, and we’ll talk. Enjoy the day!