When I first heard the title of this movie I hated hated HATED it. The animated kiddie movie Boss Baby has just been released. Is the baby now driving a car? All I could think of was that the film’s marketers had a HUGE problem. When I found out later that title comes from a Simon & Garfunkel song (and I *like* Simon & Garfunkel), I felt kind of bad… but not bad enough to express any interest in seeing Baby Driver until it came out on video.
Well, it turns out the buzz on this summer hit is true: the movie is a fun, sleek, clever heist movie. Like the song that influenced the title of the film, we have a driver named, yes, Baby (baby-faced Ansel Elgort). He is a young man that has a debt to pay to a big-time criminal mastermind called Doc (Kevin Spacey) for stealing his car when he was a kid. The problem is, Baby is such a great getaway driver for Doc’s ruthless bank heist gang (including Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza González, and Jon Bernthal) that it is not clear that Doc will let him go once they are square. The other problem is that Baby has just met a sweet waitress named Debora (Lily James), and all they want to do it hit the road and start a new life.
Baby suffers from a hearing issue since his childhood accident, so he is always listening to music to drown out the ringing sound. This is where music comes in and the fanboys freak out. Writer/Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) has made the soundtrack an organic part of the movie–matching beat to movement, sound to color. Music is what propels and protects Baby, not only as he records and loops his own mixes of things he hears, but the way he uses it to drown out his job and the people he hates. I think we can all relate to that a bit.
By the time Simon & Garfunkel’s song finally comes in over the closing credits, you’ll have a new earworm: “The call me baby driverrrr….” and you’ll maybe will stop hating the title (like me). Though it is an undeniably fun ride, Baby Driver doesn’t break a whole lot of new ground in action and plot. But I’m sure it will be taught in future master classes of editing as super-fans will want to pick this one apart frame by beat by frame.
Ready to dissect the movie? They’ve got the extras for you on the Blu-ray, including a six behind the scenes featurettes covering music, choreography, the driving, and more. There are two commentaries, with Writer/Director Edgar Wright alone, and with Cinematographer Bill Pope joining him, plus rehersal footage, animation pre-visualizations, storyboards, extended and deleted scenes, and a music video for “Blue Song” by Mint Royale, among a slew of extras.