The bloodiest ‘musical’ since Sweeney Todd…but this one has guns.
This past holiday weekend, I got to see one of my five most anticipated movies of the summer: ‘Baby Driver.’ The Edgar Wright written and directed action-comedy teased a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe, with a action-comedy with a killer soundtrack and charismatic lead. Wright’s style makes this film endlessly re-watchable, encouraging the viewer to keep an eye out for the numerous easter eggs and visual references to the song as it plays.
The genre blending action-comedy-romance-heist film, sees a young man named “Baby,” a getaway driving prodigy, as he fulfills a debt to Kevin Spacy’s crime boss and Frank Underwood wannabe: ‘Doc.’ The situation gets dicey when Baby falls for a waitress and tries to keep his work life from destroying his personal life.
The cast that Edgar Wright assembled is very effective. Ansel Elgort is excellent as the charming, quiet introvert Elgort plays the mysterious stranger perfectly; showing his intensity in plotting, fighting, and driving scenes. Kevin Spacey channels his crime boss version of Frank Underwood to a similarly knifing result. Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm act as criminal foils to each other, with Hamm’s “Buddy” character showing Baby his fatherly, nurturing side at times.
The opening is expertly choreographed with “Baby” stepping and dancing in time with the 70’s infused soundtrack. Wright puts the choreographers to work by having visual references including lyrics written on the walls perfectly spaced out for Elgort to walk by as he sings to himself. The sound design and editing is superb, utilizing car doors slamming, tires screeching, gun cocking, and muzzles flashing as beats to go along with Baby’s song of choice.
The action set pieces are mightily impressive in their inventiveness and scale. Baby’s majestic tricks, like drifting backwards into an alley or shuffling identical cars under a bridge are punctuated by our lead’s need to have his iPod soundtrack perfectly in tune with the planned hits. The visuals also look the part, with practical effects adding to the realistic feel of the chase scenes.
Baby’s relationships to his deaf foster father and love interest Debora provide the heart of the film. Elgort and Lilly James have instant chemistry, sharing a longing to be free to drive away and never look back
While almost all of the characters have depth, Foxx’s “Bats” doesn’t have the motive or justifications that Baby or Buddy do. Foxx plays this character almost exactly the same as his role as “Motherf***er Jones” in ‘Horrible Bosses.’
As a whole, Baby Driver delivers a fun heist movie with heart and humor aplenty. I think this may go down as my favorite heist movie I have ever seen.
I give Baby Driver an A-