‘Baby Driver’: Old Hollywood Escapism

Edgar Wright never fails to please. This fact has been proven continuously through his critically acclaimed Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010), and, now, Baby Driver.

Baby Driver is one of those special movies. It echoes the sentiment of old Hollywood films-Rebel Without A Cause comes to mind particularly. With a straightforward love story, simply motivated lead, and gimmicky premise, it should fall flat on its face, but it does not. The film is, in reality, a roller coaster. From the jarring opening number, set to “Bellbottoms” by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, to its climactic ending, the film is a non-stop adrenaline-fueled musical.

When creating the script, Wright already had the soundtrack in mind. Ergo, the entire film is set to his blues and funk infused mix tape. The premise of the film is, by the way, that Baby- yes that is his name- played by Ansel Elgort is a getaway driver with a particular hearing disorder which he offsets by, of course, listening to music. This soundtrack is the lifeblood of the movie, pumping energy through every car chase and choreographed brew of coffee.

Perhaps Elgort’s simplistic protagonist is ideal for this type of film. As the film progresses, Baby does not. From the first 15 minutes, we know everything about him: why he listens to music, what girl he likes, and why he is a criminal. Why is this okay? The roller coaster, of course! The film gets all the exposition out of the way and lets the fun and mayhem ensue, and this is a great thing.

In the chaos of modern life, when politics and social media and college stare us in the face, escapism is important, good escapism. Baby Driver is just that, a wholesome, wild, head-thumping thrill ride. So sit back, relax, and let him drive.

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