Once upon a time, movies were not about comic book characters filled with CGI and plots that revolved around some entity going to take over the world.
Movies once only needed a guy with a car and a girl. The movie was driven by the guy with the car, his girl and the music of a soundtrack. And they were magical.
“Baby Driver” is one of those movies. This is nothing but the story of a guy who loves a girl that is mixed up with some bad people because he can drive fast.
The main character is Baby (Ansel Elgort). Yes, that is his name.
Baby’s backstory is he was the only survivor of a car wreck that took the life of his parents. This has left him with “a hum in the drum,” as Doc (Kevin Spacey) puts it. Baby has a ringing in the ears and drowns it out with his music.
Doc is Baby’s handler/employer. Doc runs a criminal enterprise where he hires bad guys to pull heists, and Baby acts as the wheelman. It is during those times that the movie is most alive.
Edgar Wright, the writer and director, choreographs each movement during the chase scenes. We hear what Baby hears in his ear buds, and Wright makes the music fit the action.
What makes this all so great is that there is no CGI used in the chase scenes. They are actual cars doing amazing things. Take that “Fast and Furious.”
Baby once stole one of Doc’s cars, with some “merchandise” in the trunk. Doc found out about Baby’s theft and is making him pay him back by pulling jobs.
Baby wants to get away from Doc because of Debora (Lily James), a waitress in a diner that Baby visits; the two of them become a fast couple, no pun intended.
Baby’s love of Debora drives him to protect her at all costs, and it gets him in trouble with some of Doc’s hired thugs, specifically Bats (Jamie Foxx).
Bats wants to do Debora harm one night. Baby stops him, which upsets Bats who expresses his anger through violence.
What makes this movie so great is not just the stunts, but how Wright takes even something as simple as going to pick up coffee and turns it into a production. He makes us part of the soundtrack of Baby’s life.
When I was teenager, I loved this kind of movie. Those movies had cars, criminals and a great soundtrack.
What unfolded on the screen were chase scenes that made you wonder how in the world they got a car to do that; the narrative carried you through the seamy underbelly of society.
“Baby Driver” has a moral, but to reveal it would spoil it.
But the moral is not as important as the fact that this is the perfect summer movie.
As much as I have loved the comic book and sci-fi movies with all the special effects, it is so refreshing to see a movie that has none of that.
“Baby Driver” puts enough excitement on the screen to hold your attention for all of its running time.
If you remember “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry,” “Vanishing Point” or “Gone in 60 Seconds,” then this is a movie for you.
And if you don’t, go see “Baby Driver” and see a movie that hits all the right notes and gives you a thrill of ride.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language throughout.
Writer: Edgar Wright.
Director: Edgar Wright.
Cast: Ansel Elgort (Baby), Lily James (Debora), Kevin Spacey (Doc), Jamie Foxx (Bats), John Hamm (Buddy), Eliza Gonzalez (Darling).
The movie’s website is here.