When a young getaway driver (aptly named Baby) wants to get out of the criminal life he’s been forced in with the girl of his dreams, he has to pull one last heist and avoid being caught by his associates and the law. Can Baby escape into the sunset with his girl and start a new life away from crime?
After viewing Baby Driver, I wanted to give the movie a ten out of ten rating. It’s very good and as the creator of Johnny Bullet, there isn’t another movie that fits in with my likes as much as this one. Baby Driver may appear to many to be a millennial version of Drive (2011). It borrows much of its plot about a getaway driver whose escape has gone wrong but the real inspiration for Baby Driver is the same movie that inspired Drive, The Driver (1979). I’ve reviewed both Drive and The Driver in the last year.
Baby was marginally more talkative than the Driver and just like in that little appreciated film, most of the criminals had code names. Baby Driver adds loads of comedy, which seems to be the rule for action movies nowadays. What it does borrow from Drive is the stylishness and an emphasis on music, something The Driver had no need and no inclinations for. Baby Driver comes off looking smart, elegant and hip. Viewers care about the main character and his quest.
When compared to another getaway classic film, aptly labelled The Getaway (1972) starring Steve McQueen, Baby Driver really looks like a baby and reeking of innocence, unlike McQueen’s Doc McCoy.
The other thing that Baby Driver did is explore the American myth of the getaway driver. The Getaway driver is a criminal too but unlike the others he serves, he does not get involved as much in the crime. He simply facilitates it. It’s only when things go wrong, and they usually do in a caper movie that the driver has to get his hands dirty. Those he hurts are usually other criminals getting in the way of his own escape and salvation. Baby Driver follows this formula very closely while managing to look fresh and original.
The getaway driver is like a fighter plane pilot or a cowboy in the sense that he is a jock surrounded by other men who try to appear as manly. However, because of his skill, he is cast in a special class of men who can ride their way out of trouble. This is where Baby Driver failed for me. It lacked enough car chases to demonstrate the hero’s skills. We have three brief car chases that highlight his skills but the one chase that mattered the most in the third act was done with him running away by foot.
Just like in The Driver, the final confrontation between the criminals occurred in an empty underground parking lot. Much like The Driver, this final confrontation was foreshadowed by having so many earlier core scenes take place there. However, the motor confrontation between Baby and last villain standing did not show much of their driving skills and ended like a typical Hollywood is the bad guy dead or not set up.
Notwithstanding my negativity driven by a comparative assessment with other great films, Baby Driver is a welcome addition to the genre and something that I’m hoping will drive more people to be interested in my own Johnny Bullet!