Baby Driver (2017)

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  • Directed by Edgar Wright
  • Starring Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Lily James
  • Written by Edgar Wright
  • Action, Crime
  • Rated R
  • 113 mins.
  • 28 June 2017

Synopsis

A young man, Baby (Ansel Elgort), caught up in the world of a crime boss, is a getaway driver in various heists until one heist goes wrong, putting him and his lady friend Debora (Lily James), in danger.

How’s the Story?

The story is far better than I expected. I was expecting a straight up ‘by-the-book’ action movie with gun fights and fast cars. I was never expecting to find such a cute love story and such a straight up endearing main character. I expected Baby to be a hard, cold, ‘don’t look back at the explosion’ badass, and instead he came across as such an innocent soul. Also, though the actor looks young, I didn’t expect the character to be such a young guy. He’s basically a kid in the grand scheme of things, which really adds to how the story is so much more than what I expected. It wasn’t just a fun action movie, it was a fun action movie with heart.

How’s the Acting?

I have to praise the acting in this film for one thing that a lot of people probably won’t even have noticed, and I bring it up because it’s such a common thing to get so badly wrong and they didn’t: Baby Driver had good, solid, believable southern accents!

It’s set in Atlanta, a place I’m familiar with as a Georgian, and I was so sure the accents would either not exist (understandable since Atlanta people often don’t have southern accents, those hoity toity bitches) or they would be the horrible, over the top, “Oh Mr. Beauregard, I do declaya!” southern belle accents that nobody actually has but most movies have. Instead, holy crap, they sounded GOOD! I admit, Debora had a little trouble, I suspect that actress is British because of the way she said some of her words (Her ‘Mary’ in particular sounds British), but other than a few of her words sounding wrong, the southern accents work so well and sound pretty natural and subtle.

The guy who plays Baby in particular NAILS the Georgian accent. I don’t know where he is from, but if you told me he’s from Atlanta, I’d believe you in a minute.

The rest of the acting was all great, too, but the real success here is those Southern accents, so I don’t feel the need to say any more here.

How’s the Writing/Directing

I didn’t actually know who had written or directed this movie until I saw the credits roll after the movie and realized, “Wait, I know that name!” and I knew it was going to be good then. Edgar Wright is better known as the man behind Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead. Knowing that now, I absolutely can see. That explains all the hilarious moments that had the whole theater rolling laughing at parts.

This movie has some great scenes that really celebrate the actors, which isn’t super common in action movies. Also, since it’s a movie specifically about car chases, I have to celebrate how smart and fun so many of these chase scenes were! It actually had some things that you don’t often see in these types of movies, and it was so well done.

Bonus Category: Sound!

This is the second movie to get this bonus category I created for the first (Moonlight) because this whole movie is basically like someone took an awesome mix tape and made a movie for it. This movie has the most diverse and awesome soundtrack and it really gives it the extra ‘oomph’. The best thing of all is that, like Guardians of the Galaxy, this movie ties the music into the plot. It’s there for a reason It’s not just like ‘oh, know what would be cool?’, it ends up being a very emotional part of the character’s backstory.

I just really love the way they did what they did with this awesome soundtrack and the reasoning behind it. So many great songs and so many unexpected songs, and it’s all just so enjoyable.

How’s the Cinematography?

The cinematography of this movie is dope! I mean, most chase movies have fun, well done cinematography in that aspect, but there are a lot of little things that just work really well here. This will sound weird, but I love the color palate of this movie. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s not over-saturated but it’s still warmer than most action movies have. This had the color-feel of a romantic comedy but it was an action movie, and I don’t know why that works, but it does.

Also, this is a tiny thing, but I loved the scene at the beginning of the film where he’s just walking along with the camera tracking him. I don’t know if it was a long take, I didn’t pay that much attention, but it had that long take feel that just gives anything a little ‘oomph’. Also, even tinier detail, but I loved how they worked with the reflective surfaces in that scene. It felt fun and more light-hearted for some reason to have so much going on like that.

Is It Worth Watching?

Baby Driver is the type of movie that most anybody could enjoy. I mean, it’s R-Rated so obviously most people aren’t gonna watch it with the kids, especially since it isn’t just rated R for the f-bombs, there’s some seriously graphic violence in there (I did NOT expect so much blood, holy crap), but this movie will appeal to even those who aren’t big action-movie-lovers like I am.

It has so much heart, and Baby and Debora are such a sweet romance in this weirdly innocent way for a bloody violent crime movie, and you just want them to go on their ‘leave this life behind’ road trip and escape all this ugliness and be happy! I never expected to have so many heartstrings tugged watching this movie. Even beyond Baby and Debora’s sweet romance, the dynamic Baby has with his foster-dad Joe is so adorable and it really amplifies that ‘sweet, innocent kid caught up in a bad situation’ thing Baby has going on.

I just really loved this film. I love basic, badass action movies with blood and guns and cars and crashes, all that good stuff. However, that’s not what this is. This is not your basic, badass action flick, this is a movie that also has some badass action.

(Also, in parting, I’m gonna ask anybody willing to research this to comment and tell me, how bad did they piss off Atlanta drivers by closing I-75 going STRAIGHT through downtown Atlanta just to film car chases? Cause lemme tell you guys something: Atlanta traffic, especially on I-75 in the afternoon, is like Paris traffic and LA traffic had a demon baby from hell. Seriously, a drive that takes 15 minutes at 8pm will take you an hour and a half between 4 and 6pm.)

It may seem like I’m over-praising this movie, but I genuinely expected ‘mindless fun’ and what I got was characters, and heart, and comedy, and action, and all the good things about movies all rolled into one.

My Rating: 9/10

 

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About J. Chelsea Williford

Student at Middle Georgia State University, writer, pop culture lover.
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