This weekend I decided to see Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver on a whim with a buddy of mine. Seeing the previews I was intrigued, but wasn’t overly excited for it as I was for Logan or still am for Dunkirk. It looked like a simple, fun movie with action and a plethora of famous stars (Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal). I came out of the theater with a huge grin across my face, overjoyed by what I had just experienced.
Baby Driver is filled with action, drama, comedy, suspense, and most importantly, music. The music itself could be seen as one of the main characters in the film, as the protagonist, Baby (Ansel Elgort) is rarely seen without his earbuds in. He even has a collection of old iPods for different situations and music. Other characters berate Baby about his mute, cold personality, asking him if he’s slow or if something is wrong with him. Throughout the film we see the contrary is true. Music is the driving force of Baby’s life after a traumatizing accident. He times everything he does to music including driving, conversations, and picking up the daily batch of coffee. Without music Baby is lost, a car with no engine.
It is stated throughout the film that Baby suffers from tinnitus as a result from the accident. In simple terms, his head is constantly ringing with noise even when noise isn’t present. Music is a way for Baby to drown out the noise, and the few times he doesn’t have his earphones in is when he is with his girlfriend, Debora (Lily James). She is the embodiment of music for Baby in that she drowns out the noise from his head. Baby is comfortable enough around her to not need his music, something that only his deaf foster dad can also claim.
Wright’s utilization of music in this film is akin to the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It brings back a style rarely listened to, unless you grew up in that time period, directly to a youthful audience. Guardians brought back classic 70s and 80s rock while Baby Driver brings a similar collection, but more punk and gritty. The shared concept being that music is a crucial part of the film. In this case, a last connection to the main characters’ mothers.
I applaud Wright and Guardians director James Gunn for finding the formula to successfully integrate vintage music as major plot points in film. It has been proven to be successful; however, I hope this style doesn’t become dried out to the point where it’s expected. What made Baby Driver and Guardians so great is that we as an audience were completely caught off guard with the music choice. For now, It’s cool to rock out to your parents’ music, and I’m proud to still have my iPod.