ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Baby Driver: Art and the Action Film

Updated on March 5, 2018

Baby Driver, the fantastic new film from director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), is many different movies all rolled into one. It’s an action film, obviously, full of car chases and shootouts and scary looking men who mean business. It’s a comedy, like all of Wright’s films, although with its share of dramatic elements. But, the key to appreciating Baby Driver comes realizing where its heart truly lies, not with the action genre, but with the musical. Granted, there aren’t a lot of characters breaking out into song here (although the opening scene appears to be a little nod in this direction), but the way music is woven through the tapestry of the film, often syncing up with gunshots and car doors slamming, it becomes an invisible character that stands alongside the actors on screen.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver with tinnitus, acquired in a childhood car accident which killed his parents. To drown out the ringing in his ears, he has a constant stream of music playing in one of the many iPods he carries around (“different ones for different days, different moods”), whether he’s walking down the street to buy coffee or driving one of the many heists he does for criminal kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey, in the last great role we could enjoy him in before his recent fall from grace). Baby owes Doc money, but he dreams of getting out of the life and running off his with newfound love, a waitress named Deborah (Lily James). That is, until Doc coaxes him back into doing the fabled “one last heist.” Joining Baby on the job are Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eisa González), and Bats (Jamie Foxx). As expected, things go sideways and Baby is thrust forward into a rhapsody of sights, sounds, and cinematic sleight of hand towards the thrilling (if somewhat expected) climax.
The film is perfectly cast. Elgort shines as the nominal Baby Driver, bringing an effortless likability and charm to the role, as does James as his love interest. Foxx makes the most of his relatively limited screen time to bring menace and weight to a role that could have been lost in the shuffle. The standouts, however, are Spacey and Hamm: the best one liners are Spacey’s to relish, and Hamm’s natural charm takes a delightfully sinister turn for deranged in the third act. The camerawork is done by Bill Pope of The Matrix fame, and both the action sequences as well as the quieter scenes feature the same precision and visual dexterity as any moment in that film. The below-the-line elements are all top notch, with whip-tight editing and masterfully crafted sound design (the best of the year) working overtime to assist the soundtrack, expertly arranged, which features songs from a wide range of artists from The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion to T. Rex and Barry White. Wright, who has dabbled in action before (both satirically in Hot Fuzz and more indulgently in Scott Pilgrim), has honed his natural talent of visual comedy to razor-sharp perfection. There’s scarcely a moment out of step in the film.
Every summer since time immemorial has been saturated with big budget action spectacles, some excellent, more satisfactory, and most mind-numbingly dull. However, the award for best summer action film this year, needs to come with an asterisk denoting the first ever multi-genre winner as an action musical. The creation of a new genre? It remains to be seen. But for now, Baby Driver can be happy knowing it’s the most enjoyable action film in theaters this year.

© 2018 Cameron Harvey


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)