A NEAR-PERFECT BALANCE OF ACTION, HUMOR, AND TYPICAL EDGAR WRIGHT INSANITY!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** ½ out of 4
Ansel Elgort as Baby in Baby Driver
This movie gives Fate of the Furious and XXX: Return of Xander Cage a run for their money, that’s my review of the new movie Baby Driver directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End) in a nutshell. I was already a huge fan of Edgar Wright’s work in the past and one of the few people who actually saw Scott Pilgrim VS the World in theaters but this film alone could make Wright go down in history as one of the best movie directors working today.
He takes a concept as generic as a heist movie about a getaway driver and directs the Hell out of it. Baby Driver is a cinematic marvel; every shot is visually appealing, the action is beyond exhilarating, the characters are so good, the writing is clever, and the way the story is told and how the film is directed it feels as though I’m hearing this type of story again for the first time, not to mention its kickass soundtrack.
The film follows a young man literally named Baby (Ansel Elgort-The Divergent Series, The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns) who is a getaway driver for criminals paying off a debt he owes a mysterious kingpin named Doc (Kevin Spacey-Superman Returns, Moon, Horrible Bosses) and relies on the beat of his soundtrack to be the best at what he does. Baby is partially deaf due to an accident that occurred when he was a kid and killed his parents which left him with permanent tinnitus that he uses music to block out.
After a successful bank robbery with his crew, Griff (Jon Bernthal-Fury, Daredevil, The Accountant), Buddy (Jon Hamm-Mad Men, Friends with Kids, Million Dollar Arm), and his girlfriend, Darling (Eliza González-Sueña Conmigo, Almost Thirty, From Dusk till Dawn: The Series) Doc informs Baby that his debt will be paid off after one last job. Between jobs he meets a beautiful diner waitress named Debora (Lily James-Downton Abbey, Cinderella (2015), Pride + Prejudice + Zombies) and the two of them strike a friendship and a desire to leave the city with only the road, music, a car they can’t afford, and a plan they don’t have.
The next day Baby runs his next job which is an armored car robbery with his new heist crew, Bats (Jamie Foxx-Collateral, Django Unchained, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), No-Nose (Flea-Back to the Future: Parts II and III, My Own Private Idaho, The Big Lebowski), and JD (Lanny Joon-Takers, Black Gold, Lucky Bastard) with Mike Myers masks and his debt is finally paid off. However, one night after he takes Debora out for dinner Baby runs into Doc who needs him for another job which he agrees to do so he can keep Debora safe.
Now he must face the music when he is tasked with a heist that could threaten his life, love, and freedom.
Overall, Baby Driver is one of the best action films I’ve seen in a while and one that manages to blend its wild action sequences with a good sense of humor, strong characters, and smart writing to boot. A lot of people forget silly action movies can be smart and clever with the right amount of thought and care put into it and that’s what Baby Driver did, it gives the audience crazy car chases and stunts and still treats them with intelligence.
The action is well-choreographed and brilliantly shot and edited, there’s no shaky cams and the camera is focused on one car at a time and it feels like such an adrenaline rush. But with all the insanity that’s happening this movie surprisingly has a lot of heart and it never loses focus on its characters.
Ansel Elgort knocks it out of the park as Baby, he’s got style and badass stunts but at times will show off his softer and sillier sides of his personality. Almost like a deaf version of Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive.
Of course, the supporting cast is just as great, Kevin Spacey as a ruthless kingpin obviously that works and sometimes you don’t know that to make of his character. Jamie Foxx as the leader of the heist crew manages to be both threatening and funny at the same time and a huge improvement over his performance from Annie.
The plot is a typical heist story but the way it’s told is absolutely brilliant, a lot of heist movies come off as predictable if you’ve seen a lot of them before. Baby Driver was one of those heist movies where I had no idea where it was going and I was hooked until the credits, never bored and never making fun of it.
Now let’s talk about that soundtrack without giving away the songs that are used but whenever Baby is listening to his music it somehow relates or connects to what’s going on and they’re never added in just for popularity or marketing. There’s actually a purpose for the music here and it’s such a clever way to use music in film.
Baby Driver is a thrilling, humorous, and thoroughly fun experience and one of the best summer blockbusters of the year. Except this is one of those blockbusters not done in an obvious way and can be much more entertaining than a big budget Fast & Furious or Transformers movie.