STARRING: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Flea, Lanny Joon, Sky Ferreira, Big Boi, Killer Mike, Paul Williams and Jon Spencer
After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
Baby Driver has us following young and talented getaway driver Baby, who relies on music to heighten his focus and reflexes to extreme levels, which comes in handy in the world of crime. Baby was left with permanent tinnitus as a kid after he was caught up in a car accident that killed his parents and he blocks it out with the music he listens to. After successfully pulling off a bank robbery, Baby is coerced to take part in a heist doomed to fail.
Baby Driver is the latest film from the mind of English director and screenwriter Edgar Wright, having us following a young getaway driver known as Baby, who works for a heist planner mastermind to pay off a debt he incurred when he was a kid. More often than not we’ll see Baby listening to music as he suffers from permanent tinnitus which was caused from a car accident that killed both his parents. When Baby believes the debt is payed and starts exploring his friendship/relationship with waitress Debora, he’s pulled in for one more heist that seems doomed to fail.
Stylistically Baby Driver may be the coolest and slickest film you’ll see all year, with a very impressive opening heist sequence that is edited well and gives you an outline of what to expect going forward. The way the heists are executed through Wright’s direction and Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss editing is expertly done and when the scenes begin to be played to the beat of the music, it can be a thing of beauty to watch the chaos unfold on screen (the arms deal scene to the sound of Button Down Brass’s Tequila). The music plays such an important part to the film that the scenes are worked around the song and not the other way around, as in one particular heist Baby delays the job until a specific song hits a certain guitar riff. While I initially came in expecting a heist thriller, the film plays out more as a fantastical romance as Baby is infatuated with diner waitress Debora who dreams of escaping her mundane life and I was getting shades of Tony Scott’s True Romance whenever the two were on screen together. Personally for me the standout performances in the film were provided by Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm. Foxx is the loose cannon Bats and at times can be a menacing figure and for me Hamm’s Buddy is just as menacing and his character’s arc through the film is a criminal-caper Don Draper that is brewing with a demonic side within that is just raring to come out.
While Baby Driver is filled with great action sequences and musical numbers, there was a spark that was missing for me through this cinematic experience. Personally for me while I thought Ansel Elgort was good in the role of Baby in the reaction and physical aspect of his performance, I just couldn’t care for Baby as a character at all and it’s particularly hard to root for someone to escape his plight as not only did he manage to put himself in this predicament, he’s so good at what he does he’s literally smug as hell about it too. The romance as well with Debora I didn’t think was the weakest part of the film that some people have been stating, but I did think that Lily James was underused as Debora. While I enjoyed the direction the final act went with certain characters, I didn’t enjoy one character in particular doing a 180 as he was of a polite threatening manner throughout the film before he decides to do something that feels out of character for me and the films resolution feels like that could’ve been cut off completely and finished about five minutes before.
Baby Driver is a fun cinematic experience. When the heists begin and the chase is on, this is when the film is at its most thrilling. The film however just didn’t hit me the way it has been for some people to consider it a future classic as I particularly didn’t care for the character of Baby and the final act sort of fizzles out. This film will however provide you a soundtrack for the summer. 7/10