‘Baby Driver’ Review: A Steeringly Good Time

I’ve been meaning for two weeks now to go see Dunkirk in IMAX, but because of life butting its way, well, in the way I haven’t been able to go. So on a day I cited being a “me” day I decided to check out another film instead: Baby Driver. I, like I’m sure many others, hadn’t heard of it until critical-acclaim and word-of-mouth started to spread. A few things kept me from actually going to sit and watch it, they’re pretty petty so forgive me:

  • I didn’t see the appeal of Ansel Elgort, especially as a lead, because I saw him as just a pretty face.
  • I’m not into movies with car-centric action.
  • Edgar Wright’s filmography has never appealed to me.

All of those things were each proven stupid on my part because Baby Driver is easily one of the best movies of the year; it’s definitely the most creative. Elgort isn’t a “pretty face.” He has charisma on screen that I never expected to see. His performance is, of course, a standout and also stellar. He’s on the same list with Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keene, Chris Pine and Tom Holland as the most memorable so far this year. While watching, I was engrossed in every scene he was in. That’s saying a lot too because he was supported by some hefty cast mates in Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx. His ability to outshine those actors is something. Although Spacey, to no surprise, carried the most presence whenever on screen. Elgort really was a pleasant surprise. I went into the theater thinking it’s overall going to be pretty good but I didn’t expect to come out surprised by anyone. I look forward to what else Elgort is in as his career progresses.

Cars. No, not the movie franchise, the machine itself. I don’t care for them and they never have done anything for me in movies. But the way Wright filmed the getaways and chases were expertly directed and filmed. It’s not about the action. It’s about the pulse pounding realism in how the car is used and the way Baby maneuvers it. What also helped is a killer soundtrack and the best in a film since Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol. 1). I loved, just like in Guardians, how hyper aware the characters on screen were of the music being played too, it was as if the music was a character in itself. The vessel was Elgort’s Baby but the soundtrack really drove the film’s story forward.

THE NERDY WERD IS…

Trying new content ideas on The J Effect, this is one of them. It’s my final thoughts.

Baby Driver was a movie that, if asked, I’d describe as bonkers; heart-felt; and visceral. When the heat turned up in the third-act of the film, it was piping hot to the point I was on the edge of my seat. Baby was also a character who I immediately connected to once his background was explained. He wears ear buds and listens to music because he suffers from tinnitus in his ears, which I do too but in my left ear. The music drowns out the sound of the constant ringing, as podcasts do for me at night to help me sleep. Driving, which is the focal point, is his escape. Wright really leaned into his title character by having a nice touch of whenever Baby had his buds off you can hear the ringing he hears.

Take the time to watch the first six minutes of the film. The beginning is a zany open to a film that shows off all the elements of what you can expect, which is exactly what good films do. It’s a textbook pitch cut of a film to show off and something young filmmakers should take note of.

Why I waited a whole month to see this movie is something I’ll question for some time.