There is no magic in real life. But there’s magic in cinema. It has the power to transcend the limitations of reality and offer you a make-believe world where anything is possible. What am I trying to get at? And how is this related to ‘Baby Driver’? You will know.
As someone who loves music, I have always regretted the fact that life doesn’t have a soundtrack. The only place where I feel close to having a soundtrack is when I am listening to music while driving. In the confined space of my car, that becomes my world, I can play the music I want and pretend that I am living a life with soundtrack.
Baby (Ansel Elgort), the lead protagonist of the film, always has ear phones on, listening to his playlist, pretending that life has a soundtrack. He hardly speaks. He lacks social skills. But he is good at two things: Driving and creating playlists. He has a song for every occasion. Even while robbing a bank or walking on the street, he needs to hear music. Not any music. But the music he has specifically created for the occasion.
‘Baby Driver’ is a film that is escapist cinema at its best. Possibly, it is the first and the only musical heist film. By choosing a protagonist that believes in having a soundtrack for every occasion in life, director Edgar Wright very cleverly sets a premise from where he can twist the genre of crime dramas and create something that’s unique and original. So, yes, there are car chases, gun fights, murders, bank robberies happening in the film. All of that you have seen countless times before in movies. But what you haven’t seen is a film where all of that is orchestrated around a kick-ass soundtrack. Imagine that?
The plot of ‘Baby Driver’ is pretty straightforward. A young driver, Baby, has to help his boss (Kevin Spacey) carry out one final heist before he is allowed to retire. But things go awry and his love and freedom comes under serious danger of being destroyed forever.
Edgar Wright makes things clear right from the outset that he doesn’t want to tell a complex story — which heist movies typically are — but rather he wants to tell a story in a fashion that has never been attempted before. Therefore, he keeps the plot simple while letting his imaginativeness run wild. There’s no question that ‘Baby Driver’ is the coolest movie of the year. You would be hard pressed to not groove when watching the film.
However, there’s one aspect of the film where Wright falters. The ending! It is a little baffling to me that he went with a realistic ending to the film when all along he treated it more like a fantasy. I was disappointed because there was so much Wright could have done with the ending. He could have left it open. Or he could have gone completely wild. I was expecting an unexpected ending. What I got was the safest ending possible. That’s also where Wright lost the opportunity to make the coolest film of this century — and not just this year.