Note: This is my first published movie review. I Rate on a 4-star scale, 4 stars being the highest possible rating, no stars being the lowest rating. I publis the reviews based on the order I write them in, not the order they were released. I watch all kinds of movies, so get ready for all kinds of movie reviews.
My first review will be the film Baby Driver.
Baby Driver ***
There’s a scene in the middle of Baby Driver where the lead character, Baby, is waiting in the getaway car, while his group of robbers is undertaking a daring robbery. Up until this point, we have seen Baby be a miracle worker as a getaway driver. He seems able to get himself, and his robbers, out of any traffic jam and away from every cop with his second-to-none driving abilities.
But then, in the middle of this heist, Baby finds religion for some reason: He doesn’t want to drive anymore. Here’s where I had the problem: Baby seemed to accept his place in the violent world of bank robbery, no matter how much he disliked it. He gave little, if any real indication that he was no longer going to drive for these robberies. So the lead character seems very inconsistent, strictly for plot purposes.
I don’t want to make out that I didn’t like the film, I did. Baby Driver tells the story of an enigmatic young man with a tragic past, which unfortunately led him to a powerful underworld figure, named Doc (Kevin Spacey, in an excellent performance.) Doc recruited Baby as a getaway driver for whatever heist he plans, seeing his unlimited potential as a driver and cohort. Baby’s inspiration for driving is music. Baby is always listening to music, and he performs all of his unbelievable getaways in rhythm with music his iPod is playing.
Baby clearly does not belong in this world or criminals. He is a clean-cut young man who is quiet and keeps to himself. However, the bank robbers he drives for would scare the Marines. These are men with many guns, covered in tattoos and itching for a fight, and also itching for any drug they can get their hands on. Many of them pick on Baby, but to be fair, they almost kill each other as well. When Baby is not driving, he is taking care of his mute elderly foster Dad, who is now wheelchair bound. And then of course, there is the mandatory love interest, who comes in the form of a waitress at a diner Baby frequents.
During the film’s opening, we witness some of the best car chases ever in cinema. These fascinating chases feature wonderful stunt work, unbelievable cinematography, great editing, and oddly enough great character development… and are quite funny to boot. There is also a wonderful mise-en-scene where Baby walks to get coffee. This scene is so neatly choreographed with so many tricks and small perfectly timed jokes to so along with the soundtrack. I never knew walking 300 feet to get coffee could be so interesting.
But then comes the aforementioned Baby’s change of heart. This is the point where the film goes from being a stylish action film about an enigmatic prodigy to just being a standard action film, with way too much gun play and not enough substantive story. But here’s my biggest problem: I was expecting the car chase of car chases for the film’s big finale and I got a foot chase through a mall and a call in a phone booth. I sat there for the last hour hoping for a big car chase that never came.
Edgar Wright is one of the better writers and directors working today. The first portion of Baby Driver shows his talent and sheer ability to tell a story. I got the feeling that Wright got lazy or lost the motivation to write for the second portion. Or maybe Wright was trying to combine two film styles into one, and didn’t quite succeed in doing so. But no matter, Baby Driver comes recommended, so long as you’re willing to experience the let-down at the end.