There is no question that writer/director Edgar Wright of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World consistently delivers a cinematic experience, the likes of which you haven’t truly seen before. After what is an already impressive career full of (some may say cult) classics, Wright delivers us his masterpiece. Having worked on it since 1995, the film is clearly the product of someone perfecting their vision for 22 years. While Baby Driver may share similarities with films like The Driver, it is Wright’s style and initial idea that makes it wholly different from any other film. It really is unlike any film I have seen in theaters before.
Baby Driver focuses on a twenty something kid named Baby (Ansel Elgort) who, after a tragic accident as a child, has tinnitus that leaves a constant ringing in his ears. To combat this, Baby has adapted to listening to a constant barrage of music through his iPod. As a partial side note, Baby also happens to be an extremely skilled getaway driver for a local crime boss named Doc (Kevin Spacey). After wronging him in the past, Baby works for Doc and his revolving crew of bank robbers (comprised of Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, and Jon Bernthal) in order to pay back his debt. On Baby’s last job before he escapes with his crush, Debora (Lily James), nothing seems to go as planned and he finds himself involved in a heist that’s doomed to fail.
Sure, it doesn’t seem like a complicated plot and it’s really not. But Wright wholly takes advantage of Baby’s tinnitus by setting the film to his iPod playlist. In most films, music is set to exciting sequences or to set the mood of the scene. In Baby Driver, the music is the point. Edgar Wright and his crew edit this film to a ‘T’ to the point where gunshots coincide with the beats of a drum solo or the notes of a song (a shootout set to Tequila is especially impressive). Graffiti in the streets sync up with the song that is playing and the film edits to the beat of the music. It doesn’t simply underline the action sequences, but it’s also there to tell us what Baby is feeling. It’s an incredibly impressive feat and truly something you have to see for yourself. A chase set to Focus’ Hocus Pocus is really something to behold.
As for the film itself, it’s a very engrossing and wildly entertaining crime flick. Each actor is spot on, with everyone getting their moment. Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm are absolute standouts here, with Bernthal also making the most of his limited screen time. Having never seen Elgort in either The Faults in Our Stars or the Divergent series, I was hesitant about him in the starring role, but from the get-go he nails this character. Elgort plays Baby perfectly as he glides through this film with the cool confidence of a rock star. The car chases here are also a real highlight. Director Wright made a point of using real drivers in real cars doing real stunts, no CGI, and it pays off wonderfully. While the characters may not always seem down-to-Earth, the action always does and the opening sequence alone is worth price of admission. \
Baby Driver is easily the most fun I’ve had watching a film so far this year. It’s truly an embarrassment of riches that within a month we get this film, Spider-Man, War for the Planet of the Apes, and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. If you haven’t seen this film yet, go and see it as quickly as possible. If you have already seen it, you know how fantastic it is and I can tell you that it’s even better the second time.
Rating: R for violence and language throughout
Runtime: 1 hour, 52 minutes