Baby Driver was fantastic

The first five minutes of Baby Driver comprise one of the best action movie intro sequences I’ve seen. The quick cuts and the whole thing…

Baby Driver was fantastic

The first five minutes of Baby Driver comprise one of the best action movie intro sequences I’ve seen. The quick cuts and the whole thing set to music. The humor, the intrigue, and the chase. The beautiful whine of the WRX’s boxer engine turbo underneath it all. It’s gorgeous and locked me in from the start.

It’s the music

Baby Driver’s soundtrack reminds me of two things:

One: Everyone has an oddball playlist of both known and little-known stuff they love to bits and if you ever get someone talking about their own playlist and why each song is on their list, chances are you’ll become fans of those same songs too. I felt that way throughout the film, even though I’d never heard half the songs, I loved each one by the end.

I have playlists that contain songs few people have heard in the last 20 years, and would love to hear them in a movie someday. It feels like Edgar Wright finally got to make a film with a soundtrack containing all his personal favorites that have been percolating in his mind for years and years.

Two: Pairing amazing visuals with great unknown music is an instant way to make someone into a fan of that music. I’m reminded of watching skateboard and snowboard videos all throughout the 90’s and becoming a fan of all kinds of music as I watched VHS tapes a zillion times.

One song in particular sticks out to me from that era: White Room by Cream. It was the oddest choice I ever recall hearing in a 1995 Plan B skate video but when Jeremy Wray stomps a kickflip 180 down a monster gap and proceeds to grind giant rails and jump stair gaps and do switch flips all timed to the song, I became a fan of this old hit. I must have watched that video part a thousand times, and I remember it fondly whenever I hear that song today.

It’s a modern musical

The songs of the soundtrack are intricately laid throughout the film. Many scenes are sync’d perfectly to the beat, which is both infectious and comical. Like a stage musical, the film’s music is central to the storytelling and drives the plot forward scene by scene. It feels fresh.

It’s not funny… exactly

One of the biggest surprises was sitting down for an Edgar Wright film and not guffawing every five minutes. There’s probably a big laugh once every half hour. That’s way below his normal rate. It’s more of an action adventure than anything he’s done before. It’s definitely got his snappy visual style and a bit of camera tricks and humor, but it’s far from a comedy.

It’s not perfect

The faults are few. I said I loved the whole intro sequence but they cut up the big “Subaru slides in and out of trouble in the middle of a chase” scene with added angles that weren’t in the trailer, where it looked better. Jon Hamm is great at drama but even better at comedy and not giving him more jokes feels like shortchanging the audience. Something about the final scene rubbed me the wrong way, where our main character gets sentenced lightly despite being a major participant in a violent rampage that took the lives of a dozen cops all because “he’s such a nice boy.” All that said, they’re minor quibbles.

It doesn’t quit

This movie is Bullit meets Pulp Fiction. If you see it at a late night showing, don’t expect to sleep soon because if you’re like me, your adrenaline will be pegged for a few hours after.

I’ve seen it twice, and I’ll see it again many times over.