Baby Driver (2017)

Previously, my husband and I saw part of Baby Driver in the theatre, but the equipment broke and we didn’t see the end.

My predictions for what would happen were pretty far off! Already a strange movie, Baby Driver just kept getting stranger. I’m so glad we managed to return to the theatre to see the ending, and I’m glad we chose to see it in the first place. It was interesting and different. (Now I really want to see Ant-Man because it’s by the same director.)

See below for ways I was wrong or right, the things I noticed the second time around, the beat sheet for the end of the movie, and a list of interesting movie-related articles.

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Baby Driver: How It Turned Out in the End

Regarding the predictions made in the previous post:

I was right in that:

  • the tape recorder has a role to play
  • the guy gets the girl in the end
  • there’s a car chase
  • Baby loses his iPod and gets ringing in his ears
  • his apartment gets trashed
  • he betrays his team
  • he turns himself in
  • he remains good at heart, or at any rate redeems himself

I was wrong in that:

  • before Baby does ANY fancy driving, there’s a chase on foot
  • the old guy doesn’t die
  • nobody takes Baby’s driving money
  • Baby has no plan, once his plan to run away is foiled; he just reacts
  • he doesn’t betray Doc
  • Doc turns out to be an ally
  • Baby kills people himself (he kills Bats with the pole on a truck, he kills the guy by shooting him, crashing into his car, and knocking him off a building)
  • he goes to prison (because he killed people! and stole/wrecked several cars)
  • the sunglasses have no role to play in the plot
  • Debora doesn’t repudiate him. She just gets scared but follows him anyway.

The movie was both happier and sadder than I was expecting. It was happier in that the foster father didn’t die, and sadder in that Baby, because of a mistake he made long ago, got involved with people who made him turn violent.

The weirdest way I was wrong was that the butcher at the farmer’s market was not offering meat! We heard the dialog that described different “cuts”, but actually what he had was different kinds of guns! I was totally misled about what was going on, though the shootout that ensued was obviously a shootout.

Maybe the biggest way I was wrong was that Doc is not the prim ary antagonist in the finale. He and Baby have a much more complicated and genuine relationship, which I didn’t appreciate. In fact the main bad guy turns out to be a guy who was rather kind to Baby, the teammate with the girlfriend who was killed. The other teammate who was just crazy was pretty scary, because unpredictable (violent) people can cause all sorts of trouble. The girl was pretty scary too, because she talked casually about having her boyfriend kill people for her.

I was a little annoyed that Debora was useless. She never condemned Baby’s friends or actions, and never meaningfully supported or justified them, either. I thought she would attack the bad guy at some point, but the hot coffee she could have thrown in his face just crashed on the floor, and the crowbar she grabbed didn’t actually hit him. No strong female characters here. (Wait, maybe she disarmed Buddy with the crowbar? Still a weak character.)

At least twice, Doc said he had an informant with a nose problem. I didn’t know what that meant. My husband Aquinas’s theory was that Doc was a nose doctor or was friends with one, and could use some kind of gas to get people to say things they wouldn’t normally say. It could also mean the informant was nosy. Or that they tortured someone by punching him and breaking his nose. Or does it tie into Eddie no-nose somehow?

Baby Driver: Worth Rewatching

Things I didn’t notice before:

  • In the song at the credits, when Baby is fetching coffee for the team, lyrics from the song appear in graffiti that he passes as he walks by.
  • After Doc comments on Baby’s elevator, Baby takes the stairs up. I think it means Baby doesn’t want to make the easy choice, he wants to make the right choice (work for his money, not steal it).
  • The team for the third, biggest heist is not the same team as at the beginning. Buddy and Darling were on the first heist and Bats was on the second heist.
  • The security guard Baby sees dead on the ground in the second heist wasn’t necessarily shot, just knocked down. Still, what matters is the careless attitude towards life.

Things I didn’t comment on before:

  • The synchrony between action and sound effect was amazing. That and the lyrics graffiti gave the movie an air of magical realism.
  • Baby quotes things he hears. He doesn’t say much, and much of what he says is just something someone else said, transported to another context.
  • Like The Guardians of the Galaxy, Baby Driver has a soundtrack that takes the nostalgic approach and makes the music part of the movie for the characters as well as the audience. (I’ve learned the term for this: the music is “diegetic” if the characters can hear it.)

My Beat Sheet for Baby Driver (continued)

Bad Guys Close In / All Is Lost / Dark Night (?)
The night before the big heist, Baby is driving Buddy, Darling and Bats around. Bats gets out at a convenience store. Darling tells Buddy she wants him to kill Bats after the job because he looked at her funny; she mentions how happy it made her when Buddy killed for her three times in the past. Bats, meanwhile, has stolen a bunch of chewing gum. (These guys are all nuts!)

They go to the farmer’s market. A guy there offers them a wide selection of things that he describes as meats, but which are actually guns. Bats, seeing APD (Atlanta Police Department) stenciled on the side of the crate, believes that the operation is a sting. Not wanting to get caught, he shoots the guy, and a gunfight ensues. One opponent gets away.

In the car, Bats wants to stop for food at the diner where Debora works. Baby tries to refuse to go there, saying it’s a crap diner, but that just makes Bats want to go there even more (Baby is not good at lying or misdirection). Once inside, Baby’s coldness and odd companions spook Debora, who brings them four cokes. Bats starts towards her to kill her but Baby grabs his gun, and he gives up. The group leaves. Baby pays $20 for the drinks and passes Debora a napkin that says “road trip 2 am”.

They go back to Doc’s hideout. Doc berates them because no one called with the code word “bananas” to indicate that the gun deal went well. Bats admits to killing all Doc’s crooked cop friends. “Of course they were cops! They were MY cops!” Great line.

Bats claims the cop shot first, the other teammates confirm the lie. Doc wants to call off the job. The team wants to go on with it. Doc asks baby. Baby agrees to go forward.

Everyone is supposed to go to sleep at the hideout. Baby sneaks out. Buddy confronts him, saying that if he has cold feet he should just leave and not come back. Bats confronts Baby with his tape recorder and doesn’t believe he uses the words to make music. Then he insists on visiting Baby’s house to see his mixes. Baby says he lives “far away”, which is a lie, and Bats knocks him out.

When he wakes up, Bats is rolling around Doc’s hideout in his foster father’s wheelchair, and Doc plays the “Was he slow?” tape. The job is still on.

The next day, Baby pulls up in front, then behind the post office. Baby shakes his head at the nice teller, warning her to stay away. She comes back with a fat cop, who gets shot by the team. Baby remains in the parked car, refusing to drive. Then he accelerates towards a truck with equipment sticking out the back, killing Bats. He gets out of the car and starts running, stealing a hoodie, glasses and baseball cap in a basement mall where my dad eats lunch sometimes. (Just sayin’. That was maybe the only Atlanta location I recognized, apart from “Spaghetti Junction”.)

Baby runs through a place where he picks up a screwdriver, which he uses to break into and start a car, but Buddy and Darling are also in a car and block his way. The cops shoot at them, and Darling dies. Buddy blames Baby. Baby has lost his iPod at some point.

Baby runs and steals a purple car (but not a purse) from an old black lady. Hilariously, he pauses before driving off to find an acceptable radio station to listen to.

Baby goes home. He carries his foster father and his money to another car and drives his foster father to the porch of a retirement home. He records a message about the man’s likes and dislikes for the staff to listen to.

Baby goes to Debora’s diner, where Buddy is waiting for him. After a tense scene, Baby shoots Buddy, then he and Debora run. They steal a car from two guys, but won’t give them back their phone because Baby needs music to keep moving.

Baby and Debora go to Doc’s hideout. Doc refuses to help Baby get away. Baby wants the tape of his mom, but Doc won’t trade it for the money orders. Then Doc sees Debora, and his heart melts. “Oh, take your tape” he says. “I was in love once.” Then he gives Baby and Debora a bag of money and tells them to run because the cops are coming; he’ll take care of them.

But it’s not a cop in that cop car, it’s Buddy, still trying to kill Baby. Doc dies. There’s a car battle and Baby pushes the cop car off the side of the parking deck, but Buddy’s not in it. Buddy fires his gun next to Baby’s already damaged ears, then moves away to hurt Debora. There’s a fight and Buddy winds up falling off the building onto the burning cop car below.

Baby wakes in a car, not being able to hear very well. Debora is driving. They’re listening to the tape of his mom. However, before long they hit a roadblock. Debora prepares to run, but Baby stops her and turns himself in, saying she doesn’t belong in this world. He’s kinda ruined, he realizes, but he refuses to ruin her, too.

There’s a trial, and people testify to his good character: Debora, the foster father, the post office teller, the owner of the purple car and purse. He gets sentenced to 25 years of prison, with a chance at parole in 5 years.

He gets a stack of post cards from Debora in prison, all of old cars or the open road. Of all the incredible things she learned in the trial, she can’t believe his real name is Miles.

Final Image
He dreams of seeing her again, and the dream becomes real: he’s walking out of prison, and embracing and kissing her in front of an old convertible.

See Also

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