Baby Driver | Edgar Wright | June 28, 2017
Step away from the summer tentpoles, ladies and gentlemen – Edgar Wright is back. With his adored Cornetto Trilogy in the past, Wright has returned with Baby Driver (which he also wrote), a hyperactive action comedy that is one of the most entertaining and refreshing times you’ll spend at the theater not only this summer but all year. No need to give any more of your hard earned cash to Michael Bay, Baby Driver is much more deserving of your moola.
Call me biased, but Edgar Wright is one of the few modern directors whose films are must-see events that call for the entire film world to stop and take notice. Since releasing Shaun Of The Dead in 2004, Wright has been a rare source of fresh creativity who finds new ways to step up his game. Although it still bums me out to think about what he could have done with Ant-Man, considering that it finally led him to make Baby Driver, it seems that everything does indeed happen for a reason.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a skilled getaway driver like no other who can escape from any sticky situation. He’s been doing it for years for crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey), escorting grimy bad guys such as Buddy (Jon Hamm), Buddy’s girlfriend Darling (Eiza González), and Bats (Jamie Foxx). Doc adores the kid’s unique skill set, but the unusual quirk of Baby drives the rest of the team up the wall. You see, Baby is constantly rocking out to the tunes on his classic iPod. He was left with a nasty case of tinnitus as a kid after being involved in a car crash with his parents.
He’s trying to get out of the life of crime, constantly urged by his loving foster father Joseph (CJ Jones) to find a less dangerous field of work. But he’s not quite done paying off a debt to Doc, but when he meets and falls for local waitress Debora (Lily James), he finally has the motivation to break free no matter the costs.
From start to finish, Baby Driver left me gloriously entertained, with witty jokes and entertaining car chase scenes that leave you in pure bliss with a rocking soundtrack like no other. The music that Baby listens to isn’t just for entertainment; it is fuel and the soundtrack for his incredible skills behind the wheel. Wright uses the music in the same way, as a character in itself, in sync with every single swerve or gear shift in a fashion – all captured elegantly by cinematographer Bill Pope. Wright’s use of music is used in a way almost comparable to La La Land, only set in Atlanta and the speakers bumping at 100 times the volume.
Wright leaves behind familiar faces such as Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, instead opting for some fresh faces such as Ansel Elgort. While he’s best known for work in some young adult films, Baby Driver will make many people look at the actor in a new light. Elgort is perfect as the young Baby, confident and likable in the role. Lily James is equally fitting as Debora, winning you over with every passing scene.
It won’t be surprising to learn that Kevin Spacey is incredible as usual, and that Jamie Foxx is thrilling as a despicable bad guy who knows something is up with Baby. Kudos to Wright for finally finding a good role for Jon Hamm, who’s strangely had some weird luck in Hollywood post-Mad Men. Then there are also some funny scenes shared between Jon Bernthal, Flea and Lanny Joon. Last but not least, CJ Jones, who doesn’t speak a line of dialogue but says a lot with his expressive face.
If there are faults to be had, it’s that some characters could have been a bit more fleshed out, and the climax takes a few too many wild left turns, getting a bit too nutty. But the actual ending of Baby Driver straightens it all out and puts it back on its winning course. Minor faults aside, everything that comes before it is just ingenious and infectious in a way that cinema is really lacking.
Baby Driver isn’t a remake, a sequel, or yet another existing property. While a film involving car chases and big action filled heists isn’t exactly groundbreaking material, Wright crafts it in such a way that it feels like you’re seeing it for the very first time all over again, which is no minor feat. It’s a true achievement, one that should be celebrated with multiple viewings in the cinema as much as one can possibly afford.