Texas, Las Vegas, Brussels, Sandy Hook, over 142 gun violence victims had no reason to go so soon, but it happened. With so many celebrations of violence killing it at the box office, why do we still wonder how these tragedies continue? Even for myself, the news coverage on a new shooting has become white noise to me, it no longer disturbs me in the appropriate manner. Many other young men love watching stylish massacres, yet supposedly join the public worry about gun violence. From my experience, you can learn a lot about someone based on their taste in movies, so Baby Driver’s wide popularity says a lot about the level of care most young men have about gun violence.
Sure enough, director and writer Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Shaun of the Dead) attacks the law in his own fueled world void of any justifiable punishment.
First, I want to cover the lack of setting: instead of letting relevant social problems indicate that it takes place in Atlanta Georgia, the stickers on the cop cars alone indicate that. Honestly, if the location was changed to anywhere else in the world, the story remains the same. Rather than a believable city with different people to learn more about, a role-playing clean slate lets you easily imagine yourself in Baby’s position for the town you live in.
Although Edgar Wright, as he’s most famous for, still pulls it off with a modernized narrative style, this time popping in a fluent radio language. In the first scene, the main protagonist, known as Baby, rocks out to his music in a vibrant red car, his lips in sync to the lyrics, ready to drive some bank robbers away from their heist. The absence of real dialogue in the first two scenes puts you into Baby’s 24/7 mentality—he never takes off his earbuds, as he uses the beats of his tunes to fill in the beats of his new criminal lifestyle. So sure enough, the audio style cuts past Baby’s shades to meet him at eye level: the gun fires and windshield wipers match the music beats perfectly. To take you further into Baby’s mental state, you watch him mix his own tunes together while ignoring sudden flashbacks about his rough childhood. He barely even speaks to anybody, as his roommate speaks only in American Sign Language. It keeps you wondering: What goes on between his ears? Here‘s where Debora comes in, the cute waitress he at last opens himself up to in many sweet, informative conversations about music.
Film editors Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) use appropriate jump cuts alongside the exploitation of circle shapes packed with attitude to transition between scenes. Cinematographer Bill Pope (Clueless, The Matrix) keeps up the excitement with a single uninterrupted shot to show Baby’s strut down the street, which later turns into spinning the camera around the actors throughout their heated conversations. Once the camera acrobatics take a breather for some spicy dialogue, Wright keeps his visual metaphors in mind, like Baby looking at his reflection in self-doubt.
Then once the engine starts up again, each piece of stunt choreography hits you hard with its seamless special effects, turning into a wild third act revved high on octane. Edgar Wright really deserves better directing gigs under a greater studio, he’s sure got the talent!
However, the fantastic technical achievement pale in impact compared to its dreadful lack of redemption toward humanity. If you land outside the male millennial core audience, you may notice the negative stereotypes painted on every roadblock to Baby’s freedom. Alongside the White male supremacy, any named Blacks are either a terrorist or a cripple, nothing positive; in the same way, Asians and Mexicans are seen solely as terrorists. To make it more typical, this screenplay fails the Bechdel Test, giving the sole two significant female roles to gorgeous women who never even make eye contact.
Honestly, if you took away the stylish soundtrack and spicy editing, you got another hollow fantasy populated by shallow archetypes. Baby comes off here as a passive protagonist who expresses no personal fears about the gang members. The same goes to Debora, a submissive device thrown in to be a “get the girl” motivator, and the crime boss, an average pokerfaced motivator for the hero to improve. All else in Baby Driver matches the same sensical nature of Fast & Furious; just the villains run out of bullets when the plot demands it.
I’m sorry if this offends you, but Edgar Wright’s artistic strides in musical masturbation could benefit greater once he learns about the consequences of his work to live on in history, otherwise, his fans probably won’t live long enough for it to happen.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Baby Driver. Sony Pictures. Web. <http://www.babydriver-movie.com/discanddigital/>.
Brody, Richard. “Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Eiza González, and Jon Hamm in a scene from Edgar Wright’s film ‘Baby Driver.’” Digital image. The New Yorker. Condé Nast, 3 Jul 2017. Web. <https://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/baby-driver-an-artificially-sweetened-hollywood-heist-film>.
Europe. “Victims of the Brussels attacks.” BBC News. BBC, 15 Apr 2016. Web. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35880119>.
Gomez, Alan; White, Kaila. “Here are all the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.” USA Today. 8 Oct 2017. Web. <https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/10/06/here-all-victims-las-vegas-shooting/733236001/>.
Mele, Christopher. “Breaking News of a Texas Church Shooting Required Accuracy and Sympathy.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 10 Nov 2017. Web. <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/10/insider/breaking-news-of-a-texas-church-shooting-required-accuracy-and-sympathy.html>.
“Sandy Hook shooting: What happened?” CNN. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Web. <http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2012/12/us/sandy-hook-timeline/index.html>.