When “Style Over Substance” Works: Baby Driver

Trying to figure out just how to talk about Edgar Wright’s newest film, Baby Driver has proven to be harder for me than I though. I’ve gone through around five separate drafts that each go in different directions. For those of you who are unaware, Edgar Wright is a British filmmaker most notably known for what is known as the Cornetto trilogy including Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and At World’s End. He also directed the cult classic Scott Pilgrim VS The World and  just released a new film titled Baby Driver.

Wait It just hit me.

Ya know what Baby Driver is? It’s Edgar Wright grabbing a giant megaphone and announcing to the world, “Look at all the cool stuff I know how to do in movies while still telling a competent story.”

Let me put it in reverse for a second and start from the beginning. Baby Driver tells the story of a young man named Baby (Really) who works as a getaway driver for a notorious criminal to pay off his debt to this said criminal played by Kevin Spacey. After paying his debt off Baby tries to leave his criminal life behind him, especially after meeting a beautiful waitress played by Lily James. That turns out to be harder than he thought. Anything else and I’m just taking enjoyment away from you before you see it.

So Baby Driver’s story is competent. That’s not 100% the case. The stuff about Baby getting out of the criminal underworld totally plays for me. The romance with him and the waitress? Not so much. It just sorta escalates too fast, like I really needed this movie to have like one more scene with Baby and the waitress to show the romance blossoming before the action dial hits 11 in the third act and it all gets crazy.

Jon Hamm;Ansel Elgort
Ansel (Left) alongside Jon Hamm (Right)

Now as far as performance goes pretty much everyone here does solid work. The only thing I felt disappointed by was Kevin Spacey, and really it wasn’t that he wasn’t up to snuff with his acting, it’s just more like from the trailers I thought he’d be a bigger part of the movie than he really was. Basically the disappointment is that I didn’t see enough of him. Speaking of people I needed more of in this movie, Jon Hamm absolutely killed it here. He perfectly balanced the friendly co-worker vibe while also maintaining the cold-hardened criminal persona needed to make his character work within the story. I really think if Jon Hamm hadn’t done such a fantastic job the whole movie would have suffered for it. Shoot I think I have to try and watch Mad Men again just to get more Hamm in my life. Ansel Elgort also steps forward in this movie as a candidate for the next big leading man in Hollywood. Being surrounded by star power like Hamm, Spacey, and Jamie Foxx when they’re on top of their game while being able to hold your own signals that he’s got a bright future ahead.

Now to the best stuff. Baby Driver is one of the coolest looking films I’ve seen in ages while having a story just good enough that it doesn’t take me away from all the cool things I’m seeing. The car chases look dope. Gunfights? They’re timed to the soundtrack. I never knew in my life that I wanted to see a shoot-out to the beat of Tequila but now that I’ve seen it I don’t know what I did before it. How about a car chase to the tune of Radar Love? Yeah it’s there and it’s great. All of the scenes flow together to the beat of the music playing and it keeps you right with it the whole time. The best thing I think movies can do is force you to lose yourself in their world and Baby Driver does this nearly perfectly.

Baby Driver is sure to be that one movie this summer that your movie-buff friend can’t shut up about and keeps telling you to go see, so do yourself a favor and grab a ticket to shut them up. I promise that if you’ve enjoyed any of Edgar Wright’s past films you’ll love this one.

PS I didn’t mention this, but Baby Driver also has some great laugh out loud moments.

What is there even to say about me? One thing is that the first time I sat down to write this I just gave an explanation of what this site is instead of talking about, ya know, me. I think that's a pretty good way to describe me, though. For the most part, I am not much more than the sum of all these random thoughts and stories I put up here. Maybe there's more, but that just means I need to write more here.

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