Crank up the tunes and hit the pedal to the medal because we have an instant cinematic classic here. Baby Driver takes inspiration from the best heist and car chase movies and adds a 360-degree-burnout-spin with crisp visuals and a killer soundtrack. No second of this 113-minute-long film is a bore, with each scene carefully-crafted and meticulously synchronized to ensure we get maximum moviegoing mileage.
Baby Driver follows Baby, a soft-spoken, musically-inclined young adult who has a terrific penchant as a getaway driver. When Baby was a child, his parents were killed in an automobile accident, giving him a nasty ringing in his ear that he drowns out through some hard-hitting tunes. Baby’s skills behind the wheel make him a valuable asset to Doc, the mastermind behind the robberies and schemes that Baby partakes in with more violently-natured individuals like Buddy, Darling and Bats.
Unlike his criminal colleagues, Baby yearns for a more simple, clean civilian life, driving down Route 66 with his beautiful, waitressing beau Debora riding shotgun. As Baby is unwillingly pulled more and more into the criminal life, it threatens his and Debora’s safety, with Baby having to find a way to keep his life from breaking down on the side of the freeway.
Ansel Elgort is a delight as Baby and Lily James a fresh ray of sunshine as Debora. Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez and Jon Hamm don’t hesitate at getting their hands dirty with their grimy, morally-bankrupt characters. Out of the three of lawbreakers Baby teams up with, Hamm is the most spectacular, pulling you in with his psychotic charisma even when he’s firing machine gun rounds at your head.
But performances aside, writer and director Edgar Wright is really the creative maestro of this film and the one who should be credited with its successes. He executes his vision perfectly, seamlessly blending music with action as if Mozart himself were conducting a symphony inspired by a a high-speed chase. Each shot is carefully focused, each scene bursts with color and light, and the whole thing interweaves together into a masterfully-crafted action spectacle.
Baby Driver seems like a pretty surprising turn for a director like Wright, who is best known for his Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, composed of the comedies Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End. But Wright also directed the heavily-beloved Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, showing that he has a natural flair for expertly-timed action and visual thrills. Based 10 years from now, we’ll look back at Wright’s filmography and see Baby Driver as his turning point from greatness to true excellence, his magnum opus, a film from a well-known comedy director who got a shot at doing something bold, unique and uncompromisingly raw and succeeded on all fronts. When we would have been just satisfied with a two-star movie with some decent chase scenes, Wright said “fuck that” and drove 100 mph straight at us, refusing to slow down or compromise for any roadblocks in his path. Oh baby!