Throughout his career, Edgar Wright has always had a partner in crime. He teamed up with Simon Pegg for the Cornetto Trilogy and he had Michael Bacall help him with the script for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. But Baby Driver marks the first time that Wright is the sole creative force behind a movie, and let me tell you, it is well worth the wait.
Baby Driver follows the main character named Baby (Ansel Elgort), the best getaway driver in Atlanta. Thanks to a childhood accident, Baby has tinnitus in his ears and must listen to music to drown out the ringing in his ears. After meeting the girl of his dreams, played by Lily James, Baby needs to makes a choice. Does he stick with the life he knows or keep driving and never look back?
First, a tip of my hat to Edgar Wright, who did a fantastic job with this film. The Wright style of quick cuts works so well in this setting, showing every step in a heist or letting you feel the intensity of a chase sequence. Wright sets up a film centered on just three heists, each one corresponding to an act in the film. With each heist, he shows the character development for Baby and you can see his growth by the tone changing for each heist. Wright was smart not to lean too much on exposition, instead dropping the audience right into the middle of this world and slowly letting us discover who Baby is and the world he belongs to.
In between all the cuts, action, and humor, the movie has a soundtrack playing pretty much throughout the entire film. And in an odd way, Edgar Wright made Baby Driver a musical. No, there isn’t a scene where Jon Hamm and Kevin Spacey have a duet or anything like that, but there are elements of a musical in this film. For example, after the first heist Baby goes to get coffee. You are not watching Baby just do this mundane thing, as Edgar Wright set up a tracking shot and choreography to the song that Baby is listening to, making it feel like it is out of a musical. It is the most stylish way you will ever see someone grab a coffee order. Make sure you pay attention to the background during this sequence as there are some cool Easter Eggs. It is moments and scenes like this, where it is not dialogue or actions but the music that is giving the story direction that makes Baby Driver feel like a musical at times. Take a note, Damien Chazelle.
Besides being a treat for your eyes and ears, Baby Driver is also carried by a fantastic cast that has Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Eiza González, and Jamie Foxx. Kevin Spacey plays Doc, the mysterious crime boss and the rest of the actors play different criminals brought in to help with the heists. A lot of the cast should be applauded for their performances. I particularly loved Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm in this movie. I loved that you think their characters are one-note but they have great depth and make choices that you don’t see coming.
The only weakness to Baby Driver is Lily James’ character, Debora. Lily does a good job acting but her character really is not that essential for the movie or Baby’s growth. Sure, she is his dream girl, but Baby would have come to the same conclusions without her. I also get that Debora is supposed represent the life that Baby wants, but Baby has a better and more meaningful source for that in Baby’s foster father played by CJ Jones. Sadly, the weakest storyline in Baby Driver is the romance between Baby and Debora, the actors are fine but it is not a convincing on-screen romance and this romance leads Debora to make some choices that no rational person would make.
Baby Driver has all the action and suspense of Heat and has all the fun and driving of Smokey And the Bandit. Edgar Wright somehow made a musical driven by music from an iPod and filled with great choreography where the main dancer is a car. After seeing this movie you’ll leave the theater wanting to drive fast while listening to your own killer soundtrack.