I’ve seen Baby Driver multiple times since its Blu-Ray release last week, and still love it just as much as I did in theaters. This film has it all. Great action sequences, humor, romance, all enriched by an incredible soundtrack filled with classic tunes that you’ll want to listen to in your car.
Since I’ve entered into a new relationship in my life, I’ve listened to more R&B now than I have in the past few years. One of the songs used brilliantly in Baby Driver is “Never Gonna Give You Up” by the late, great Barry White. Its one of my favorite classic R&B tracks, and I was happy to hear it in a mainstream blockbuster for all these young kids to listen.
After my most recent viewing of the film, I starred thinking about that diner scene between Baby (Ansel Elgort), Deborah (Lily James) and Buddy (Jon Hamm). It’s such a tense filled and well executed scene. My thoughts focused on Buddy and how devastated he was to lose his Darling (Eiza González). His turn in becoming the villain near the end of the film is supported with great motivation, and I’ll later explain why. But as I thought more and more about the character arcs in Baby Driver, it became apparent that Buddy and his Darling were the real victims of the film, while the character of Baby became less likable. Here’s why….
Buddy and Darling are the Bonnie & Clyde of the film. Their mentality is them against the world, and as a team they’re very effective at doing what they do. Its the reason Doc brought them around for a second heist, after making it clear he doesn’t use the same crew twice. It doesn’t take long for the film to establish that these two lovers aren’t as crazy or evil as their counterparts, Bats (Jamie Foxx) and Griff (Jon Bernthal). They also seem to be the only two people in the criminal world who show Baby any kind of respect. This more so for Buddy, who throughout the film demonstrates he cares about Baby. Back at the warehouse after the film’s opening bank heist, Buddy defends Baby from Griff’s bullying and harassment. Then when saying goodbye to Baby on the elevator, Buddy shows him recognition and tells him not to answer anymore of the Doc’s calls for heist jobs. He knows this life ain’t for Baby.
Probably the most standout moment for the Buddy character is when he sits beside Baby, and the two bond over listening to Queen. Later during the tense diner scene with the heist crew, the only person having fun is Bats (Foxx), who’s already killed a gas station clerk, and nearly kills Deborah. Buddy and Darling don’t care that Baby has a love interest, and for all we know they’re happy for him. Its clear that despite all their wrong doings, Buddy and Darling aren’t so evil. They enjoy the thrill of robbing banks and getaways from police pursuit, but, so far as we know through the film’s first two acts, aren’t so much into killing people during these heists, as is Baby.
Yet, once there’s a sense of betrayal on Baby’s end is where things begin falling apart. Buddy and Darling have trusted Baby, and made attempts to befriend them during their brief adventures together. The two lovers made plans to travel to Vegas and get re-married, likely ending their business with Doc and Baby for good. However, as we now know the two never made it to Vegas. Instead, Baby let his emotions get the best of him, by running the getaway car into a truck, killing Bats and leaving them all in danger. The young man forgot that Buddy and Darling were already planning on killing Bats, so had he just been a little more patient and composed and done his job, everyone would’ve gotten what they had coming.
For Baby, it was a big pay day and a clear road to drive away for good with his Deborah. For Buddy and Darling, it was off to their second honeymoon. Instead, the two end up dead, and Baby ends up being the hero, where in truth he was just as bad as Bonnie & Clyde. To me they’re the real victims of this story, as Baby’s emotions got the best of him and he looked out for his own interests, making for a slightly less likable character in upon my further review of Baby Driver.