Baby Driver is easily one of the best action films I have ever watched to date. I am usually not a fan of action films. I find the success recipe rather meh; speeding cars, explosions, hot female lead, conflicted male lead, and more explosions. Certainly there are many great ones out there but the editing, soundtrack and cinmetography of Baby Driver really stands out from other Hollywood flicks.
So here’s a quick overview of Baby Driver. The plot is essentially just about “Baby” (Ansel Elgort) and his accidental involvement with a heist gang led by “Doc” (Kevin Spacey) after a teenage “Baby” stole a car containing “Doc”‘s illegal goods years before the film’s timeline. “Baby” is a skilled gateway driver but he dislikes his job. He is extremely passionate about music and driving, and when he met Debora, he decides to start afresh. But obviously he can’t because “Doc” pulls him in for another heist with the crew “Buddy’ (Jon Hamm), “Bats” (Jamie Foxx) and “Darling” (Eiza González).
What’s amazing about the film is definitely the excellent selection of music and sounds and how they support the atmosphere of the movie. One obvious instances is when the piercing ringing sound gets incredibly high-pitched when Baby gets anxious. The use of music just makes a wrong act – the heist – an exciting and a seemingly normal and ordinary thing. But I love how the songs suit the context so perfectly. No speech was required, music alone is sufficient. With Baby’s rhythmic dance moves, this movie does feel like a musical at times. And with minimal lines from Baby, we soon find ourselves living in Baby’s world where lyrics alone are enough to express our mood, thoughts and feelings.
Besides that, the editing is superb here. Choosing to edit to synchronize with sound effects and music really draws viewers, or me at least, to the events of the film. The jump cut and match cut editing remove unnecessary space and time, making sure viewers are just absorbing the necessary content without wasting time. It certainly feels that we are ‘jumping’ across time here. It of course helps to ensure audiences have their eyes glued onto the screen, focusing on the visual elements without having to do anything extra. It’s innovative, it’s used appropriately, making a typical scene much more engaging.
What’s funnier is that for a loud musical-action film, it pains to see the existence of a deaf foster father who is unable to comprehend the beauty of the music. But it amazes me to see how he has his own way of ‘listening’: by placing his hands over the speakers to feel the vibrations. Speaking of which I’m reminded of The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations:
I’m pickin’ up good vibrations
She’s giving me the excitations (oom bop bop)
I thoroughly loved the comedic scenes in this movie especially towards the ending where “Buddy” and “Darling” who are trying to escape from the cops drives into “Baby” the jinx. And Jon! Hamm! I really got the Don Draper feels when he listens to the mixtape with “Baby” and how he almost went speechless when “Bats” assumes “Darling” and “Buddy” are their real names.
No doubt it is one of the most beautiful and meticulously crafted film I have watched so far. Definitely worth a re-watching in the future.