As I sat in the middle row of the top level of seats in the Regal Atlantic Station Stadium 16 movie theatre with the smells of buttery popcorn and acidic soda clogging the air, I was staring at a blank white screen. Then the screen extended, and a bright red background came into focus. Right away, you could see the title “Baby Driver” smack dab in the middle in beige writing. Above it was a gun, and shooting out of it was a car acting as a bullet, its exhaust trail acting as the smoke that projects from the gun after it’s shot off. Above that were three words: “Beyond. F**king. Awesome.” After watching all one hour and 53 minutes of director Edgar Wright’s Atlanta-shot movie, I could not agree more.
If you mix a “Fast and Furious” mentality with a Mafia lifestyle, you’d soon find yourself stumbling upon “Baby Driver,” in theaters today — June 28. With his dark shades, quiet manner and earbuds in his ears, Baby (played by Ansel Elgort) is a young man who is a very gifted driver. He’s so good that at his young age, after attempting to rob a car, he’s picked up by a crime lord named Doc (played by Kevin Spacey). After the altercation, Baby is transformed into a getaway driver, and becomes one of the most crucial parts in Doc’s crime operation. Meeting a young woman named Debora (Lily James), Baby quickly falls in love and decides to put his past behind him. However, once you’re in the game, you can never get out.
With just seeing the poster for this movie, I was blown away. Why? Because I felt it screamed awesome. Fast cars, guns, violence and a good plot buildup are only a few of the things you need to pull a teenage boy such as myself into a movie. With a strong opening scene involving a police car chase, it most definitely did not disappoint. However, this wasn’t the thing that mostly caught my eye. Or my ear. It was the music.
“Baby Driver’s” soundtrack is a musical repertoire that’s vibrant and diverse. From the Commodores and Rolling Stones, to the Supremes and Gene Vincent, Baby’s taste in music is admirable. The amount of time put into finding a playlist that would represent such a diverse and different work of art is nothing but a miracle. I was impressed by the countless number of bops coming from this movie.
“Baby Driver” is stacked with talent, with some actors who you’ve probably seen/heard of before, and others who you’ll definitely want to hear more about and see more of. Someone who is no stranger to the acting world is Jamie Foxx, who plays Bats, a street gangster willing to do anything for a buck. Mixing comedy with his character’s hardcore lifestyle, Foxx’s charm — along with Bat’s gangster mentality — makes him one of the film’s most memorable characters. Actors Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and Eiza Gonzales (“From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series”) play Buddy and Darling, a crime duo who seem to spend more time locked onto each other’s lips than doing their jobs. They play the hell out of their characters. As Doc, Kevin Spacey, known most notably for the hit Netflix series “House of Cards,” perfectly plays the mastermind behind the crime operation, instilling fear inside Baby and letting him know there’s no escape from the life he’s in.
The film’s unfurling of Baby and Debora’s love is picture perfect. The way Elgort and James play this attraction on screen is almost too good. The care they show for each other seems genuine, just as good actors should when portraying two characters who have a love-at-first-sight type of bond. It’s also interesting to see how both characters develop from the dark challenges they have to face and how they develop with each other. You can sense a Bonnie and Clyde-esque vibe coming from them. The development of these characters leads to the film’s climax.
And on the subject of development, Ansel Elgort’s growth as an actor takes center stage. Best known for appearing in hit movies like “Divergent,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” and “Paper Towns,” which were more dramatic with less action, Elgort now shifts into a leading role, filled with tasks we’ve never seen Ansel attempt before. If you’ve seen some of his previous movies and compare them to this one, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise.
“Baby Driver” is written in a style that will have viewers on the edge of their seat. I was blown away throughout the whole movie. The level of action is balanced with a substantial level of comedy and has a killer soundtrack to go with it. Despite the film’s R rating, I’d recommend everyone of the appropriate age (and ones who receive adult permission) to check out “Baby Driver.” It’s most definitely a must- see.
Mack is a 14-year old rising sophomore at North Atlanta.