Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx
Review Author: Tony
There are very few certainties in life but if we were to bank on one it’s that Edgar Wright is going to craft a quality film. Wright has cemented himself as one of the best modern Directors with a small but stellar filmography. His blend of wit, homage, and parody have allowed him to seamlessly take on familiar genres and put a hilarious, fresh twist to them. The only downside is that while he has the critics in his corner he hasn’t quite captured audiences attention since Hot Fuzz. Fortunately, Baby Driver is Wright’s most accessible film to date with an A-list cast, American setting (I hate to admit it but it helps) and a premise which will surely put bums on seats.
Baby is a gifted young getaway driver under the thumb of crime boss Doc and his merry band of degenerate bank robbers. While Baby might not look like your typical criminal, his skill behind the wheel is unmatched. Bank robbery is far from Baby’s passion as he’d rather spend his days bopping along to killer tracks on his classic iPod’s or making his own jams to recorded soundbites. Music is not just his passion but also an escape from his Tinnitus, a symptom from an accident during his childhood which he uses music to drown out. Baby finds himself smitten by a waitress in his favourite diner and plans to leave his life of crime behind him. Unfortunately, his employer has other plans.
Taking much inspiration from films like Bullit, The Driver, Heat, Vanishing Point, and so on, Wright sets out to make his own noir/crime tale. Much of the beats feel familiar but Wright puts his own stamp on the genre with stunning colours, quirky humour, and a pumping soundtrack. There are moments of comedy sprinkled throughout but for the most part Baby Driver is a stylish, kinetic joyride of a film with some thudding shootout scenes that would make Michael Mann blush. However, these shootout scenes pale in comparison to the films chase sequences. Edgar Wright knows his cinematic car chases and understands exactly what makes them great. Each turn and swerve is caught perfectly and the streets feel mapped out to give a sense of cinematic geography. Every moment Baby is behind the wheel sucks you right in and has you gripping to your seat. Not since Ronin have car chase sequences been this exciting.
The heart of this story is the music, everything revolves around this perfectly selected playlist by Wright which elevates every moment. Baby moves in sync with his tracks both behind the wheel and in his daily life, every moment is a musical number for him as he jaunts around. For a film, this tightly edited (Edgar Wright has the best editing of any modern director – fight me!!!!) and executed in such an energetic fashion, the music pushes the tempo up to a level that will have your heart racing as you’re sucked into the passenger seat.
A noticeable element to the film was how consequence affected the narrative. Baby’s bullish colleagues constantly remind him that their line of work has no place for conscience, people get hurt and if anyone gets in their way they’ll cut them down. When the bullets do start to hit their mark it’s violent and brutal. Decisions have consequences and there’s a real sense of high stakes in this world. The violence is an interesting contrast to the pop style visuals of the movie.
Baby Driver is not only Edgar Wright’s best film to date but the savior of an incredibly drab summer of film releases. In a year of endless remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings a movie experience like this is a reminder of what fine filmmaking is all about.