by Manuel Reynoso
4 Palm Trees out of 4
Baby Driver is a 2017 action film written and directed by Edgar Wright, starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx
Forced to a getaway drive to repay his debt, Baby finds that it takes a lot more than a fast car to escape the pull of the criminal world.
I don’t think anyone’s ever thought to themselves “Boy, I sure hope someone makes a musical crime thriller.” But I assure you, Baby Driver is the musical crime thriller we all needed but certainly do not deserve. Baby Driver oozes style. Top notch cinematography, amazing editing, and some of the smoothest dialogue I have ever witnessed, Edgar Wright absolutely hit it out of the park. I can feel my fingertips wanting to gush all over the keyboard, but I’m going to reel it back and go into why Baby Driver might be in my personal top 10 films list.
My raw enjoyment level during the film almost never dropped below an 11. Seeing Baby whip nondescript cars into a Rockford spin, all to the beat of Brighton Rock, was just one example of the many rushes in Baby Driver. Nearly the entire film is choreographed to the music that Baby is currently listening to. From Barry White to Queen, the soundtrack to Baby Driver doesn’t just serve as a music bed to compliment the action, but even helps to flesh out Baby as a more nuanced character. Eventually the music bed feels so integral to the film, you get this premonition on where the action is going to go. You can feel the flow of the action as your mind follows every beat of the music.
On que, every cut is perfectly in sync with the music of the film. Despite the hectic pace of some scenes, using the music and editing as a guide, you’ll never find yourself lost in the action. Not once did I think to myself, “wait, what happened? Where am I?” This isn’t just a testament to the choreography, but to the editing prowess of Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss. The camera work and lighting was equally as amazing as well. Bill Pope’s mix between snappy jump cuts and long takes gave the viewing experience almost a texture. Now I’m sure by this point you would expect me to stop making references to music, but the dialogue has to be the best piece of music in this entire film.
First let me explain. The written word is music. You vary the tone and length; you create rhythm and beats. Tension, Action, Horror: how you choose to write a line, what you leave in, or what you take out. This is where the music in words can be found. So when I hear dialogue, I hear its flow, its beat, and its rhythm. You can have a great story, but with flat dialogue. However, Edgar Wright went so much further than giving each character their own personalities. He gave them their own rhythm; He gave them their own music. Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx’s acting prowess really shone through when you hear them deliver each line. Each character spoke to the beat of their own drum, and they felt so much more alive.
Man, I liked this movie. Like, really liked this movie. It’s not perfect, and I have my criticisms, but the feeling of passion and care that went into this film just makes these small issues fade away. I can’t recommend it enough, see Baby Driver in theaters and enjoy the ride. Rated R 1h 53m