Logline: A young, music-loving getaway driver finds himself embroiled in a doomed heist.
Edgar Wright’s newest film Baby Driver is the most fun I’ve had at the cinema in a long time. The director’s fifth feature, Baby Driver is a visceral romantic heist comedy with an incredible soundtrack.
Wright conceived of Baby Driver in 1994 and the story saw its first incarnation in a Mint Royale music video he directed in 2003. A clip from the video can be seen in the film when Baby (Ansel Elgort) is flipping through TV channels. In a season full of remakes, reboots, and generally unoriginal works, Baby Driver stands out as something truly special.
The story centers on Baby, a young talented getaway driver. A childhood accident left Baby with severe tinnitus and he constantly listens to music to drown out the ringing in his ears. The film features a plethora of tracks that propel the story and are synched with the action. A chase movie through and through, the film rarely lets up and includes some of the best car chases ever committed to film.
Baby Driver has a star-studded cast that includes the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, and Jon Hamm. As Baby, Ansel Elgort is excellent and he really comes into his own as a leading man. Elgort’s chemistry with Lily James is undeniable. The performances are great across the board and one gets the sense that these actors are having a blast. The visual design of the film is stellar and it has a real retro vibe to it.
Some might classify Baby Driver as a sort of modern-day musical. The opening credits sequence features Baby dancing in the streets of Atlanta and listening to Bob and Earle’s “Harlem Shuffle.” Look closely and you’ll notice that some of the lyrics appear as graffiti. Even if some of the elements at work here seem familiar, their execution is pitch perfect and inspired.
I rarely go see films in the cinema more than once during their initial theater run. However, I had to see Baby Driver twice and I loved it even more on the second viewing. It is a fast paced ride with infectious energy and vibrancy. Baby Driver is one of the must see films of the summer.
Rating (out of ****): ****