It’s hard to describe Baby Driver to anyone who hasn’t seen an Edgar Wright film, but this one is unlike his previous work. The Cornetto Trilogy contains variations on a theme, while Scott Pilgrim vs the World is based on a series of graphic novels. Baby Driver belongs to the heist/one more job category. This time out, the characters don’t act like they’ve seen every film ever made.
Since some people are obsessed with putting labels on things, I guess you could say Baby Driver is a jukebox musical crime comedy drama. The actors don’t break out into song, but music plays an important part.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) combats tinnitus by constantly listening to music through earbuds. He has multiple iPods for various situations, and thankfully he never once uses the term “curate.” Baby falls for Debora, (Lily James) who works in a diner, because this is that sort of movie. Debora dreams of heading west on 20 and leaving it all behind, because….
Baby Driver is one of the few films or television series that shoots Atlanta for Atlanta. Some have called the movie a love letter to the ATL, but I like to think of it as a thank you note; which is also a kind gesture. Those of us who live in Georgia have spotted a few geographical anomalies, but that’s okay; not even Citizen Kane is flawless. It puts ATLiens in the same boat as those who live in LA or New York City who nitpick minor things.
The post office in Baby Driver is actually an old bank on Green St in Gainesville, which is about an hour north of Atlanta. Well… It’s an hour or more if you are one of the many residents of Gainesville who drive a Toyota or Honda. It’s forty five minutes or less for the average person.
Some have questioned Debora’s plan to head west on 20 because Alabama. After that it’s Mississippi, and eventually Texas and Arizona, none of which has any appeal. Hell, half of Texas has moved to Georgia, if all the “Don’t mess with Texas” bumper stickers are any indication. Anyway, she could go all the way to California, which is something. I guess.
She can’t go too far east or she’ll end up in the Atlantic Ocean. Same goes for a southern route, but there is the extra added bonus that is Florida. Blurgh. North is no picnic either, for that is where Yankees come from.
For every nitpick, there are a lot of things Baby Driver got spot on. One is that Joseph (CJ Jones) watches channel 5 news, which is what most people I know watch. My friend and I made a knowing chuckle when Baby tunes the car radio to 97.1 The River. It’s one of Atlanta’s classic rock stations, and the only station of any type you can pick up anywhere–if you want to or not. I’m sure it has a cult following in Finland.
I know the decision to film Baby Driver in Atlanta was made by Sony Pictures and not Edgar Wright, but I applaud him for adapting the script to suit the location. If the movie is a thank you note to the city, then this is a thank you note to Mr. Wright.
Come back anytime.