When it comes to some of the most entertaining and stylish movies of the last two decades, none have made them better than writer/director Edgar Wright. Wright has given us some famous modern cult classics, as well as some original stories that pay homage to some of the most famous film genres. Such as buddy cop action comedies, zombie horror movies, and like that of Baby Driver (2017), heist movies. Although Baby Driver (2017) is completely different from that of Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007) as it doesn’t pay direct homage or parody any particular movies, it is a completely original creation.
Baby Driver (2017) follows Baby (played by Ansel Elgort), a getaway driver for crime boss Doc (played by Kevin Spacey). Baby owes Doc a great debt after unknowingly stealing Docs car as years prior and drives for all of his heists in order to pay off the debt. Although Baby despises his life of crime, he’s behaving until his debt is repaid. Then he meets diner waitress Deborah (played by Lily James), and now he has a reason to get out of the game. Only, Doc doesn’t want to let him go so easily.
This is by far one of the best edited action films of the modern era. Since many if not all of its chase scenes and action set pieces are within the beat of the soundtrack. With each action scene, each turn of a car, each gunshot that goes off, is in time with the tempo of the song playing at the time. The best example of this is in the opening scene, with Baby driving the car away from the police in sync with Bell Bottoms by The John Spencer Blues Explosion. Any sound you hear over the course of the sequence also hits the exact note at the exact time. In fact, it was said that Edgar Wright always wanted to do a car chase to this particular song; and it isn’t hard to see why. As it is not only an inventive set piece, but also sets the tone for how the rest of the film will play out.
It has also got some memorable performances from the entire cast. As no one outshines the other, which is incredible given how charismatic the cast is. Such as Jamie Foxx as the antagonistic Bats, and John Hamm as the likeable Buddy. But extra credit to our main lead, Ansel Elgort, as he portrays Baby with childlike innocence but is treated with adult gloves as he knows what is right and wrong. In fact, he even proves many people wrong as more than just a getaway driver, rather a tough and courageous kid that is fighting through a bad situation. Which hits particularly hard when the 3rd act comes knocking.
Besides Baby Driver’s (2017) ingenious action and editing, the story is also quite amazing. Yes, it is quite simple compared to more complex stories like Inception (2010) and Heat (1995). However, it somehow manages to subvert initial expectations like how Marvel does with their films. For example, when we are first introduced to the character Bats, we figure he will be the antagonist to Baby for the rest of the film; unexpectedly, after the final heist is complete Baby decides to kill Bats since he threatened him, his foster dad, and his girlfriend he knew he had to go. But it also paves the way to the question, who is the final bad guy? This is answered a couple minutes later with the death of Darling (played by Eiza Gonzalez), Buddy’s wife. Buddy’s blame lands squarely on Baby as he tries to kill Baby for the remainder of the 3rd act.
Overall, Baby Driver (2017) is a simple and energetic story with a lot of heart and well choreographed action sequences. Ansel Elgort was a great choice to play Baby, the supporting cast are a well rounded and colorful ensemble with particular praise to Jamie Foxx and John Hamm. And say what you will about Kevin Spacey, but you have to admit he plays the crook mastermind well in this movie. But this film wouldn’t be the same without Edgar Wright at the helm of the project. I can’t wait to see what he brings to the planned sequel.