Director – Edgar Wright
Cast – Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey
IMBd Rating -9
A getaway driver with a monk-like work ethic, a waitress with a heart of gold who wants him to stick to the straight and narrow, a scheming older man played by an actor famous for playing a scheming older man on TV; this isn’t Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive – although, in some bizarre universe, it could be. This is Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, and it’s the best action movie since Mad Max: Fury Road, and also, in a fun twist, the best musical since La La Land.
Ansel Elgort plays Baby, in a movie that delights in giving its characters names like Bats, Buddy, Darling, and Griff. He’s a getaway driver for a criminal kingpin named Doc, played by Kevin Spacey. Baby, described conveniently by Doc, “had an accident when he was a kid, still has a hum in the drum, plays music to drown it out.” In non-movie speak, that means Baby lost his parents in a car crash when he was a child, and developed acute tinnitus, which leaves a constant humming sound in his ears. He drowns out the noise (metaphor alert) with music, stored in a collection of vintage iPods, one for every mood
Edgar Wright however, is the real deal. He’s as visionary as they get – right up there with other cult favourites like Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Bong Joon-ho and Zack Snyder. There isn’t a frame in this movie’s action scenes that doesn’t seem as if it has been handcrafted by him. Everything, every moment, from those trademark Edgar Wright inserts and whip pans, precise to the millisecond, to the music video-style editing of the chase sequences, this is a staggering display of one man’s vision, and the loyal dedication of hundreds of others to make it a reality.
But here’s the thing about Baby Driver: Yes, it’s the darling of the internet right now, having built incredible buzz since its first screening at the South by Southwest Festival. And yes, Edgar Wright has gone to Dwayne Johnson levels to promote it on social media, highlighting, as he should, the film’s incredible 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. But, it’s still an Edgar Wright movie – a weird, quirky, tonally hyperactive love-letter to cinema.
Which means, it’s not for everyone