The trailers for this movie looked a little sparse on story, but other that than terrible cat movie that he did, I go where Kevin Spacey goes, so we went yesterday. The basics of this story are:
- Kid’s parents die in car accident: kid has tinnitus so listens to music all the time, has also become an excellent stunt driver.
- Baby does something to big bad guy, has been working off a debt by being a getaway car driver for heists. We witness the last two jobs for him to complete to be square.
- Big bad guy decides Baby is so good he can’t let him go, threatens him and his foster dad, Baby agrees to keep driving – there are consequences.
I’m going to start with the criticism and move on to the pros.
My only real criticism is that it was all style and not a lot of substance. There was enough there that you understood the role that everyone was playing, but there was no investment in character development. For example, when Kevin Spacey’s character is swayed to help Baby by Deborah’s presence at the end, we have no basis for why; it’s completely a shock because we don’t have his background, he just says “I was in love once” and that’s all we get. This was a story that could have stood to have had a little more flashbacks maybe? I’m not sure.
Despite that, this movie had everything. It had amazing car chases, a bit of runaway romance, Jon Hamm looking sexy, Kevin Spacey being cross, and a storyline that has a good person caught up in circumstances that they think they’ve escaped, but are now trapped in and have to survive. The strongest part was Baby’s story, his relationship with his deaf foster dad, and the reason why he listens to music all the time. You will find yourself rooting for him, because he was truly just handed a shit hand from the jump.
There was a surprise about the editing of the movie that, as a former/recovering musician/music teacher, was very pleasing to me. Most scenes were synchronized from the spoken dialogue to the slamming of car trunks to the walking pace – it all was to the same tempo and rhythm as the background music and the action in the moment. It was flawless, perfectly timed, and that precision often added to the drama or the suspense. I think this would be a fantastic movie to add to either a music appreciation or film class for high schoolers or college level students for discussion and analysis of that very aspect.
Not every movie has to be a deep emotional experience, and like I said at the beginning this movie provided just enough backstory so that you understood the flow and I think that’s what this movie was for – a quick, fun, occasionally suspenseful romp with a great soundtrack. You should go see Baby Driver.