A few weeks ago, the Boy and I were at a holiday gathering and someone mentioned great movies from the past year. Because we have been totally fail-whaling on seeing movies while in theaters, we are now at the point where a lot of last year’s movies that came out summer and before and now available either as a digital download, or on some of the premium movie channels. And so in addition to recommending we finally watch “Get Out”, we were told that we would probably thoroughly enjoy the movie “Baby Driver”. And so, on a Friday night in December when the girls were away, we cozied up, plunked down a couple dollars on Amazon, and settled in.
I was not entirely sure what to expect with this movie. I knew that the main character’s name was Baby, that he was a getaway driver, that he had tinnitus which was part of the reason for listening to music all the time, and that the driving stunts were all done practically. (I also knew Kevin Spacey was in the movie, and after all the sexual misconduct allegations that came out of the end of last year, that made watching him perform feel just a little icky). I was pleasantly surprised by it all, but considering all I’d heard were good things, that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
I guess I didn’t realize how much of a “heist” movie this was, but also how it wasn’t your typical heist movie. I do love watching the criminals make the plans to get into a space, and then execute and get out, and whatever shenanigans happen along the way. This genre has always spoken deeply to my type-A planner mind. Movies like Sneakers, Ocean’s Eleven, Inside Man – it is literally a genre to itself, and it’s terrific watching a plan come together. Baby Driver sort of breaks the mold – we aren’t interested in one group making one big hit – we are focused on the one guy who remains consistent in an ever-changing cast of heist characters. This guy is the getaway driver, and his name is Baby. He stands off from the group, listening to music on an iPod throughout nearly the entire movie that becomes the soundtrack, with every major beat matching up to a visual cue (very impressive).
He’s also a terrific driver, and as mentioned before, it turns out the driving on this movie was all done practically – there is no special effects tomfoolery that’s making the cars do the things they do. That’s all a driver. Watching all the things that the cars in the movie do, it’s particularly impressive, and I found myself with jaw dropped quite a few times. I mean, just watch the clip below which is the first six minutes of the movie, and includes some particularly awesome stuff.
I mean, that’s objectively awesome, right? But perhaps you need more in your life than just awesome practical stunt driving. Lucky for you, this movie happens to focus on Baby, and the things going on in his life that make him want to get out of the getaway driver racket, and what’s holding him back. We also get a lovely little love story between him and waitress Debora (played by Lily James), and a heart-warming story of Baby’s deaf foster-father who is the only other person that Baby really trusts.
So, back to Kevin Spacey-creepiness. Yes, he’s in this movie, and it feels weird to watch him in something after all the allegations came out about how he has potentially been acting inappropriately with subordinates in film and theater productions for decades. Somehow, that all fits with his character in this movie, who has a constantly creepy vibe on him. The real surprise for me though, in this movie, was Jon Hamm. I’m used to Hamm as 1960s douchebag first class Don Draper, but instead, we get him as this scary-tough bank robber with tattoos on his neck and deep-seated rage. It’s a real break in character from what he usually plays, and it’s enjoyable to watch.
Overall, the movie is a lot of fun. Even if you’re not car obsessed, or music-obsessed (the soundtrack overall is pretty terrific), it’s got all the fun hallmarks of an Edgar Wright movie, even if they’re not as obviously picked out. There are plenty of fun performances, and things that will surprise you throughout. I was honestly on the edge of my seat most of the movie waiting to see if Baby could really get out of the biz. So if you enjoy heist movies even half as much as I do, this is one you’ll want to see.