UK | USA 2017
Opening July 27, 2017
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Writing credits: Edgar Wright
Principal actors: Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey
It is rare that a film is released which is not only greatly enjoyable, but feels like a breath of fresh air. Baby Driver is one of those films. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a young man who listens to music all day as a way to deal with his constant tinnitus and who also happens to have an extraordinary talent for getaway driving. Despite his skills at the wheel, his heart isn’t really into all the criminal activity. You see, he was coerced into driving by Doc (Spacey) and he is looking forward to paying off his debts and having a normal life with Debora (James), the cute waitress at his local diner. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy to break away from the criminal world, and sometimes there are situations where even his driving might not be good enough to make a clean escape.
With his Cornetto Trilogy, consisting of a Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World’s End (2013), Edgar Wright emerged as a director with a unique sense for incorporating humor and action into his films with frenetic editing. With Baby Driver, he has taken his skills a step further, seamlessly incorporating the soundtrack into the action resulting in a film which is more akin to a jukebox musical (albeit without much singing) than a typical heist film. Every shift of the gears and squeal of tires fits perfectly with the high octane music flowing from Baby’s iPod. Unlike other films where the soundtrack is used to supplement the action, here it is at times more integral to the flow and dynamic of the scenes than dialogue. In fact, if there is any real failing in this film, it is that character development is often forgotten as the audience is propelled from one action sequence to the next. However, this is easy to ignore as it is clear that everyone is having such a great time (such as Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx who both really ham up their roles as bank robbers). Then again, Baby Driver should probably not be taken so seriously, for it accomplishes all that it set out to achieve: it is darkly humorous and the chase scenes will have you on the edge of your seat. And with the interesting use of the soundtrack, Wright has demonstrated how to rejuvenate a tired genre by thinking outside of the box. There is no doubt that with its competent performances, top-notch editing, and fantastic soundtrack that Baby Driver will be a popular popcorn film this summer. ( )