★★★★★ Written & Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza González, Jon Bernthal
Film Review by Taryll Baker
The first thing I noticed when the screen opened for Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver was that it was shot on film. Not only are less filmmakers taking this direction, there’s a lot of pressure on cast and crew. With so much going on, it’s amazing how Wright handles everything so skilfully. Whether it’s the long takes filled with seamless choreography, or the crazy action-packed stunt work, Baby Driver is an incredibly fun thrill ride from start to finish.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a driver for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey). Suffering from tinnitus due to an accident as a child, Baby drowns out the humming by plugging in his earbuds and listening to music. Doc (Spacey), Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza González) are all welcoming of his lifestyle, providing he drives well enough to keep them all alive. As time goes by, Baby becomes tired of his relentless, demanding job and eventually finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
I won’t bore you by listing every actor; it’s a truly stellar cast and everyone involved is incredible. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Elgort turns in a surprisingly likeable and fresh performance as Baby. He handles the comedy very well, but shines in the more emotionally demanding scenes. He and Lily James perform so naturally that the formulaic relationship becomes something you genuinely care for. Jamie Foxx and Spacey both provide highly entertaining performances, yet again proving to be talented comedic actors.
With the film being almost entirely American, Wright decides to keep his unique quick-cuts to the bare minimum. However, the overall tone feels very much the same as his British work. Fans of the latter will recognise his writing, it’s just as clever as before. The energy is still there and not once does pacing become an issue. Cinematographer Bill Pope captures the high-speed chases with ease, and the sequences with long, extended shots are beautifully crafted.
Apart from a few minor scenes, Steven Price’s score is barely present. Nothing stands out, which will disappoint fans of his work. That said, the soundtrack created for Elgort’s character is perfect in every sense of the word. Each track feels absolutely essential to the story. It features a vast mix of genres and becomes just as much a character as anyone else. It’s no doubt it’ll give Guardians of the Galaxy’s ‘Awesome Mix’ a run for its money.
I could go on, but I’m trying as hard as humanly possible to avoid spoiling anything. So, I’ll keep it short. It’s clear this was a passion project for Wright. It may have taken years to make, but it has come to fruition with a remarkable result. Well-executed, stylish entertainment. This is why we go to the cinema.
Baby Driver is refreshingly cool and original, and Edgar Wright steers with finesse.
Watch the official movie trailer for Baby Driver below...