Director: Edgar Wright
Screenwriters: Edgar Wright
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx
Distributor: TriStar Pictures
Rated PG| 113 Minutes
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Edgar Wright‘s Baby Driver can be best described as a musically charged gangster film full of colorful zany characters all looking to make a big score. If Wright could write music – and he probably could – they would look, sound, and feel like this movie.
While recent car chasing heist flicks have been focusing on the big action set-piece spectacle that may look spectacular but lacks spirit and heart, Baby Driver proves that you don’t need to jump out of planes (be it exploding or not) to be hip and cool. You just need a driver, the girl of your dreams, music, and the road to travel to some unknown destination.
Baby Driver centers on the titular Baby (Ansel Elgort), a fresh face in the criminal underworld who acts as a getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey), who coordinates the heists. But Baby is no fool; he knows what’s going on around him, despite his fellow crew members undermining him for his lack of interaction with them. Jon Bernthal‘s Griff even goes as far as asking Doc if “he is slow?” Most would question why he has earbuds on all the time, but Baby listening to music all the time is more than just a motivator, it helps drown out the constant ringing in his ears, a condition he’s been suffering from since he was in an accident as a kid.
So Baby builds his escape mix based on the iPods that are in the cars he steals. With each new car, he comes across a new song that he’ll use to express himself. But his life changes when he comes to a diner and is waited on by Deborah (Lily James). And the getaway driver finds a new lease on life and a reason to get out of the business. But some how he cannot escape it, and Doc recruits him once more to join Bats (Jamie Foxx), Buddy (Jon Hamm), and Darling (Eiza González) to go on one more heist for the ages.
Let’s get one thing straight. Baby Driver is easily the coolest, sleekest, actioner that is fueled by an eclectic sound you will ever see and hear. The music literally drives the film. No pun intended. Every beat is synced to the movement of whatever your eyes can see. Which is something that is clearly emphasized when Baby rocks out to the sounds of “Bellbottoms” by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in the film’s opening scene. Something almost everybody does when waiting through the excruciating pains of sitting in traffic. But as aforementioned, music serves a dual purpose for Baby. It drowns out the “hum in his drum” and motivates him up as he gets ready to put the pedal to the metal and pumps up the volume.
So rather than looking for the next big explosion, audiences will be tuning into what the next song will be, and each one is more unexpected than the next. While some songs like Martha Reeves and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere To Run” acts as a musical exposition, some others like Isaac Hayes “Hung Up On You Baby” is used a bit differently, but in such a way that it is twisted and very inventive.
Sure the strong emphasis on music may make Baby Driver feel like a music video – if you watch closely, you may even notice one of Wright’s music videos in the film – but it isn’t all about the music, even if we want to believe it. Wright has a sharp and witty script. Each one of Doc’s crew members is more crazy and dangerous than the next. Bats, Buddy, and Darling have no regard for anyone’s safety, and they look forward to acting on their violent urges just as much as they are looking to take home a piece of the score. While Bats may seem like a homicidal maniac, he is cold and calculated but is also unpredictable and very funny. Buddy has this simmering anger that is just waiting to pop, and when it does, you’d better be at a very safe distance, because he is just as dangerous behind the wheel as he is when he pulls the trigger.
There’s no sense in delving into the twists and turns of the film, but just know that this film takes some pleasantly unexpected turns. The black-and-white sequences adds a sense of film noir, alluding to some of the great heist and capers that came before it. The snappy shots of smoking hubcaps, screeching tires, gear shifts, and Glock clicks – courtesy of Bill Pope, the film’s cinematographer – just add the immersive world that Wright is building.
One thing is for sure, Baby Driver is one of the most original action movies fueled by music you will see this summer. It’s a sensory delight that will tickle your ears and excite your eyes. Nothing goes to waste in Wright’s latest film, and everything, no matter how big or how small the part, serves some sort of purpose. All of which leads up to a very satisfying payoff audiences will be more than happy with.