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I saw Bullitt so long ago it was at a Southern California drive-in. I distinctly remember jamming my foot on imaginary brakes on the car’s floorboard throughout the car chase sequences. Baby Driver may put Bullitt to rest when it comes to breakneck driving but will never (be still my beating heart) remove my adoration for a Mustang GT. Alas, the stunt driving in in Baby Driver may have nudged Bullitt from its top spot.

Time to gladly eat my words. I’ve complained about films with distracting loud soundtracks, but Baby Driver makes it work in overdrive and—dare I say it—with synchronized perfection. Magnificent sound editing. Can’t see how any film could beat it come awards time. The only issue I had happened at the opening, the first bank robbery, when the robbers didn’t put masks on until they got to the bank door. That didn’t make sense with security cameras everywhere nowadays. The other issue I had was driving stolen cars to the meeting site after the robbery. That didn’t fit the slickness of these operators. Maybe it was some sort of statement about their arrogance and confidence, but it seemed sloppy to me.

I know other reviewers are raving about this flick as a “car chase action” film, but I have to take issue with that. I watched the entire movie seeing it as a beautifully written, exquisitely realized character-driven story enhanced by excellent direction. I decided to see it because of the marvelous cast and was not disappointed. The music, pacing and controlled violence will hopefully not distract from the cast’s superb ensemble work. The characters are clear-cut and diverse, ranging from the sweetness of youthful romance to the bizarrely sociopathic. The final topping on this delicious flick was the credits rolling to a fabulous rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s Baby Driver.

The driving scenes brought back memories, things done that I’d never tell my mom about, (like burying the needle on the Hollywood Freeway in the middle of the night in a Mustang, of course), and made me long for the days of the gearshift on the floor. So, if you have one, slide it into fourth and go see this film.

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