Baby Driver takes the express lane to awesome

By Ryan Simmons (Twitter: RyanSimmonsVO)
July 2, 2017 - 10:43pm

You want a movie so groovy it’ll knock your socks off? You want car chases that would make Jason Bourne sit up in his seat? You want a soundtrack that would make The Guardians of the Galaxy jealous? I have four letters for you: B-A-B-Y.

A totally original script conceived, written, and directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), Baby Driver is a car chase movie. Straight up. It’s cool, it’s sleek, and the whole thing is packaged around a soundtrack that would make any road trip a winner. The chase scenes are electric, and each one is set to the perfect song to leave you white knuckled, and trying not to blink. Every single one has the feel of a carnival ride, like the whole theatre is moving. It’s exhilarating to watch.

Baby Driver's chase scenes are instant classics, with the movie immediately taking its place among the best in the genre, like the Bourne series and “Bullitt”. Baby isn’t a Steve McQueen badass, though. Played by Ansel Egort, Baby is more of “good guy in a bad situation” character. He manages to anchor things down in a very talented ensemble cast, but he doesn’t exactly stand out.

Standing out is largely left to Jamie Foxx and John Hamm who both get to flex their character actor chops a bit. Jamie Foxx plays things on the edge and he does it well. You’re waiting for him to go off the whole movie, pretty much, and he’s a master at making you feel like it could happen at any moment. John Hamm manages to play a pretty likeable scumbag and always manages to stay relatable, even when at odds with the main character.

The story  isn’t about a shining good guy surrounded by bad guys, though. Baby isn’t innocent; he’s a good person in a bad spot forced to do bad things. The cast is more a set of unsavoury characters of varying degrees of bad, with none of them really rising to “evil movie bad guy” status. They’re all pretty believable criminals.

If there is one big bad in the movie, I guess it would be Kevin Spacey's character, though he never really gets a good opportunity to gnash his teeth. You’re left feeling like they could have had anybody play that part, really. Definitely feels like Spacey had more to give here.

In general, the story manages to stay grounded in reality the entire time, and outside a pretty abrupt and unexplained change of heart by one of the characters near the end of the movie, everyone reacts and behaves in ways that feel genuine.

The only real downside to Baby Driver might simply be that the chase scenes are just too good. When the movie isn’t ripping along at a literal 100mph you just spend the entire time waiting for it to get back to the perfect, music-driven chase scenes. So when they do take a break to get into the characters, or to move along the slightly cliché storyline, it does actually feel like time slows down. It has nothing to do with the acting being bad, or the story being bad, it’s just that the action is so perfect and exciting you never want it to stop. So every second it is stopped is amplified.

While Baby Driver isn’t a perfect movie as a whole, the chase scenes within it are perfect scenes. In my opinion they make this a must see for fans of action movies and crime stories. These are the chase scenes by which action movies will be measured against going forward. “Flawless” is truly the only word I can think of to describe them. So go check it in theatres if you can, it’s not in 3D so wait for the cheap seats if you feel like it… and try not to speed on the way home. Good luck!



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