Edgar Wright's Baby Driver is a whiz-bang highlight reel of sound and editing, topped off by an assortment of memorable performances and a story that does whatever it can to earn some "cool" points. This isn't Wright's leanest or most impressive film by any means, but it's different in a summer full of the same.
Critically adored and audience appreciated director Edgar Wright is back after capping of his Cornetto trilogy with The World’s End and attempting to make Ant-Man before parting ways with Marvel. Baby Driver is Wright paying homage to some of his favorite films of the past, with a witty script, memorable characters and some of the best sound design and editing to hit the streets this year. That being said, Baby Driver does feel a bit pretentious in its approach, trying so desperately to be the coolest film on the block, when in reality it’s just a good time at the cinemas.
The film follows a somewhat mute young guy named Baby (Ansel Elgort), a getaway driver with a killer iTunes playlist that he jams to on his iPod as he assists a wide variety of colorful thugs, played respectively by guys like Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Jon Bernthal. Leading the pack is Kevin Spacey as Baby’s handler and the mission control of most heists.
Things appear to be going as planned until Baby gets caught up in a whirlwind of emotions, after having met Debora (Lily James) and falling madly in love. Suddenly, the two become a modern day Bonnie & Clyde as Baby vows to walkaway from his driving life in exchange for lifelong love and happiness with Debora.
Edgar Wright‘s Baby Driver is a fast-paced adrenaline ride that doesn’t solely rely on its car chases and action, but also its cast and story. This is definitely a film that is advertised as a traditional heist film, but it plays out much differently.
Those familiar with Wright’s work will know exactly what to expect, but those unfamiliar are in for a special treat. Your mileage may vary on the overall satisfaction, but the film will surely leave you talking about it that’s for sure.
This is because Wright’s scripts are far from conventional. There’s a shell of a traditional heist film that outlines most of the plot beats, but the unfolding is where Baby Driver takes a swerve to the right, with Wright injecting his usual brand of fast-paced humor and excitement around every sharp turn.
A lot of people have been asking me if Baby Driver is a film for them and my response has been wildly mixed. Baby Driver is a fun movie that might be one of Wright’s more approachable endeavors, but it’s still a different breed of action/comedy that might turn off some.
For starters, star Ansel Elgort is either going to sit well with you or annoy the piss out of you. I personally didn’t care for his performance, but I blame that partially on Wright’s script, which occasionally thinks it’s more clever than it truly is. The character of Baby just didn’t resonate with me, which left a cold impression that I just couldn’t shake.
Comparing Baby Driver is tough, but I’d have to say it’s as if La La Land and Drive had a hybrid stepchild. It has the music and self-aware excitement of La La Land without actually being a musical, yet it has that slow-burn love story approach that Drive hammered home, plus the occasional car chase. Drive was never an ordinary car film, much like Baby Driver isn’t just your typical heist film.
I enjoyed moments of Baby Driver, because of Wright’s eye for comedy and excellent casting choices. Jon Hamm especially steals the film, while Jon Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez, Lily James and Kevin Spacey do their best to keep up with the pack. Elgort bothered me as the lead, but I can see what Wright was going for.
Baby Driver might be that drastic dose of different needed in a summer full of franchise entries for some, but it might also be a little bit too much for those looking for a simple heist film.
I liked it, but didn’t fall in love with it as much as I did with Wright’s other films. To be honest, it’s probably my least-favorite Wright film, but that isn’t saying that it’s awful.[divider]