Baby Driver is the latest and greatest creation from British director, Edgar Wright, famous for his work on the Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End) and cult classic, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. His newest film, Baby Driver, thought up over 20 years, is without doubt one of the most fun, original and kick-ass movies of the year.
The film tells the story of Baby (Ansel Elgort), a getaway driver (hence the movie’s title) for Doc’s (Kevin Spacey) criminal gang, although it’s clear he doesn’t belong in that world. On his travels he meets Debora (Lily James), a waitress at a typically American Diner, where they discover each other’s love for music. The like-minded pair plan their escape from the city and the lives they both desperately want to get away from. With more than your fair share of heists, shootouts and car-chases and everything in between, the film does more than enough to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.
Where Baby Driver really stands out and comes into its own however, is its soundtrack, and more importantly the use of that soundtrack to drive the action on screen. This element of the film derives from the fact that Baby has tinnitus, a ringing in the ear (or hum in the drum as Spacey’s Doc puts it) as a long-term result of a car crash in his childhood and to drown out this noise, Baby constantly plays music through one of several iPods he has collected. There is a huge amount of satisfaction from seeing gun-shots, gear-shifts and explosions on screen meet up meticulously with the beats from the music you’re hearing, and it adds so much to the film and almost gives it the feel of a musical at times.
As well as being the best thing about Baby Driver, the sound is also the source of my only gripe with this film. To be enjoyed fully, I would say it is essential to view the film in a cinema with good quality surround-sound, as it adds so much more to the film, making it more immersive and a wholly better experience.
Now, aside from the musically brilliant action sequences, what Edgar Wright has done magnificently is that he’s given a good portion of the film’s run-time to build up the main characters, exploring their motivations, inspirations and passions to such a degree that it really does allow the audience to connect with Baby and Debora especially, who are both played by Ansel Elgort and Lily James with charm, charisma and a good amount of believable chemistry.
The supporting cast is also one of the film’s biggest strengths. Kevin Spacey as Doc is superb and brings across elements of his portrayal of Frank Underwood from the House of Cards series but with a somewhat paternal feel towards Baby. Meanwhile, Doc’s heist crews, made up predominantly of Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza González) and Bats (Jamie Foxx) all get plenty of rewarding screen time, highlighting what makes them tick, and helping to show off their individually criminal traits.
On the whole, Baby Driver is a wonderfully original film with an absolutely awesome, toe-tapping soundtrack which adds a whole new dimension to the heist scenes woven carefully into the film. A very typically Edgar Wright film and undeniably, another stroke of genius from one of cinema’s best directing talents. It’s a hugely refreshing and enjoyable experience from start to finish and I would absolutely recommend it.
Baby Driver was released in the UK on June 28, 2017.