Edgar Wright’s latest film, Baby Driver is a high octane heist movie sure to please many audience members this summer.
Baby Driver tells the story of Baby, portrayed by Ansel Elgort (from The Fault in Our Stars), a young, yet talented getaway heist driver for local kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey). The film starts out with the engines revved up, as an exhilarating heist scene ensues with Baby and a few of his peer robbers (Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez), escaping the cops. Baby is not the usual robber, however, as he almost always has earphones in to compensate for his partial hearing loss due to a car crash when he was younger. Matters soon get complicated for Baby after he meets Debora (Lily James), a waitress at his favorite diner, who wants to escape her monotonous life in the restaurant industry. Thus, Baby Driver becomes a love story entangled with crime and danger for all parties involved.
While the general shell of Baby Driver may seem unoriginal (boy meets girl, decides to leave past life, in favor of new one and romance, ie. Heat), director Edgar Wright infuses enough of his flair to create a fresh take on the romance and crime genre. Much of the quick dialogue and humor found in his previous successes, like The World’s End, Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead can be found in this film, and his wonderful cast really delivers believable, lifelike performances. Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm particularly standout in this film as robbers with dedicated backstories, and Kevin Spacey conveys his ubiquitous charm, even as a wily boss.
In addition to top–notch performances, Baby Driver offers stunning cinematography and a vibrant soundtrack on par with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films. From the initial heist scene to the film’s conclusion, the camera action is always thrilling and personal, offering the audience lively frames to keep us invested in the characters and events playing out on–screen. It is very tough to distinguish the real filming compared to the visual effects added later, which adds to the reality of this film. Wright brilliantly edits the action scenes, never focusing too much on one particular frame, but meshing them together in an exciting and organic way that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Baby Driver really escapes the normal mold for action–romance films through the extensive use of music, a key part of both Baby and Debora’s lives. The soundtrack is so unique and fun that you lose yourself in the story and each song adds great depth to the characters, like “Easy,” by The Commodores.
While Baby Driver is quite entertaining and enjoyable, there are a few narrative issues that altered the experience slightly. First, Jon Bernthal was greatly advertised for this film, and I have been a fan of his work (Fury, Daredevil, The Wolf of Wall Street) for a while now. However, he appears in one heist and then mysteriously vanishes for the duration of the film, which was disappointing. Second, the essential romance between Baby and Debora did not feel as organic as I had hoped it would be. Most of their scenes together felt very formulaic and predictable, and we got little insight into Debora’s character besides some superficial pursuits she had, which was disappointing since many of the other characters (ie. Jon Hamm’s) had interesting backstories and I wish she had one too. Essentially, none of the female characters were developed at all—that is, the two there were. Besides those relatively small gripes, I had a blast with Baby Driver. It is a thrilling, original and stylistic take on the crime–romance genre, and a rare summer film that really pleases audiences and critics alike.