Baby Driver is the 6th film in the filmography of Edgar Wright, starring Anlsel Elgort(Fault In Our Stars, The Divergent Series), Jamie Foxx (Ray, Django Unchained) & Kevin Spacey (House of Cards). The film is based around a guy by the name of Baby, who has found himself being the unfavourable position of being the get-away driver for a natorious criminal gang. Baby, an exceptionally skilled driver battles his inner demon’s after the loss of his parents in a car accident when he was young and dealing with tinnitus, a side effect of said accident. He uses music to drown out the noise and is determined to overcome his past mistakes and build a better life for himself and those he cares most about.
Edgar Wright infuses his classic high octane style with his patented musical narrative to produce a well balanced product. If you have read my review of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World then you know I love his style of direction and a lot of his films have found their way into my favourites list. Baby Driver is no different but what I found to be most commendable from Wright was his ability to deliver an action film without falling into the pot holes that most do when delivering a film of this type. What you tend to get sometimes is the overindulgence of explosions, car chases, things that look good on the screen but have no real substance or even engages the characters you are watching to you in any sympathetic or relatable way. However, Wright is able to provide all of the above without neglecting things like character development, ensuring that the story makes sense and that the motivations of the characters fit into the narrative he is creating.
Baby driver could be seen as just another heist/action film with a romantic subplot, and to a certain degree it is, but what it has going for it however, is it’s ability to keep the viewer occupied, whether that be with its musical soundtrack, turning a simple coffee run into a fun continuous long take, infusing some of the lyrics into the backdrop of the scenes to give it a music video type feel, to the comedic moments that gives it a freshness from the intense action that follows. Although when you compare Baby Driver to other classic heist films of the past it may not have all the twist and turns that encompass a classic but it did more than enough to make the main protagonist an empathetic figure in the viewers eyes. It can be one of the most overlooked narrative points when directing a movie but ensuring that the audience relates to the struggles of your main character ensures that towards the end of the film, we as the audience are all in to see a happy ending.
Certain traits like love, loyalty or even courage are all tools the screenwriter & director uses to sell the main character to the audience as someone to root for, and even of they end upon mankind bad decisions, as we see at the start of this movie, we as the audience tend to justify their actions in our head because of the fact we are now empathetic to why they have made these bad decisions. So as we are introduced to Baby (Ansel Elgort) driving a get-away car after a bank robbery, we wonder what possible reason does he have for being a criminal, later down the line we see his home dynamic and this unlikely candidate wins the audience over as he displays not only his quirky charm, but also his skills and with the introduction of his romantic interest, the love he has to give.
Jamie Foxx (Bats) stands out for the criminally short amount of screentime he was given in this film, along with Kevin Spacey (Criminally underused in my opinion in this), as Foxx plays a unstable criminal with trust issues who takes a particular interest ion Baby. Spacey’s character, who is a blank, straight to the point leader of the ever-changing crime gang, has a character change near the middle of the third act but for the first half of the film excels as the criminal mastermind who has one over on baby and seems to be extorting him, further empathising Baby in the audience’s eyes.
The addition of the love interest, Debra (Lily James), gives the film a new dynamic and gives Baby the motivation he needs to rebel against the situation he has been forced into motivating his coming of age as he becomes his own man. The ending was a little rushed and it felt like his happily ever after, although earned, was only placed there to ensure the movie didn’t seem pointless, often a narrative heist movies end up having. I still utterly enjoyed this movie and would recommend you watch it with some friends over a pizza or something.